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Trial starts in harassment lawsuit against Will County police

Updated: March 21, 2013 6:28AM

Jury selection began Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Chicago for a sexual harassment lawsuit against the Will County Sheriff’s Department.

According to court records, former Will County jail guard Marlis O’Leary went on medical leave in June 2007 and was terminated in April 2012. She sued the department in federal court in 2008, alleging that her co-workers sexually harassed her by repeatedly making lewd remarks toward her.

In July, O’Leary filed a second federal lawsuit after she said the sheriff’s department hired a private investigative firm to harass her in 2010 in retaliation for her sexual harassment lawsuit against the department.

Sheriff’s officers often drove past her house, snowballs were thrown against its windows and once a man wearing a black hoodie with “sheriff” written across the back rummaged around her house, according to the second lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Chicago. It says a photo of a jail guard accused in her first suit of sexually harassing her and seven other guards was left on O’Leary’s windshield in September 2010 to intimidate her.

That lawsuit, which is still pending, also contends that the sheriff’s department hired the Insight Group to follow and videotape O’Leary, monitor her home, photograph her family and place repeated hang-up phone calls her to her house during March 2010.

When O’Leary complained to the department, she was told that if she asked the judge to dismiss her sexual harassment case “all this would go away,” according to the lawsuit.

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