Updated: January 16, 2014 6:56AM
The former police chief in Justice is suing the village, claiming he was wrongfully fired for failing to more severely discipline an officer accused of sexual abuse while on duty in May 2012.
The village did not follow proper procedure or hold a hearing to allow former Police Chief Robert Gedville a chance to defend himself when he was removed as chief a year ago, according to a lawsuit filed Thursday in Cook County Circuit Court.
Gedville’s dismissal came on the heels of a sexual scandal involving officer Carmen Scardine, who was accused of forcing a female to perform oral sex on him in his squad car while he was on duty.
The lawsuit says Gedville suspended Scardine without pay for 26 days but did not move to terminate him on the advice of the village attorney, Michael Cainkar. It says that under his union contract, Scardine was able to surrender 26 vacation days in lieu of the suspension.
“He knows why he was fired, he’s just looking for whatever. I don’t know what he’s looking for,” Mayor Krzysztof “Kris” Wasowicz said of Gedville, whom he appointed as chief in 2008. “He doesn’t have a leg to stand on, everything was reviewed thoroughly. ... It’s a free country. He can file suit if he wants.”
Scardine and Gedville also are defendants in a federal lawsuit that the woman filed against the village in November 2012.
About three months after the accusations surfaced against Scardine, Gedville was suspended for sending emails to more than 50 suburban police chiefs and municipal leaders, urging them to hire a red-light camera company that had installed the cameras in Justice. He was then fired on Dec. 13, 2012 for “official misconduct,” Wasowicz said.
The lawsuit claims Gedville did not receive any money for the vendor recommendations, and he made the referrals with the consent of Wasowicz.
The lawsuit also alleges that Gedville was fired last May from his position as a probationary employee with the Cook County Forest Preserve District Police because of the “negative stuff that Justice had said” about him in the newspapers. Wasowicz made false and defamatory statements about Gedville to the media with a “reckless disregard as to the falsity of the statements,” according to the suit.
In addition to wrongful termination, the seven-count lawsuit also alleges breach of contract, intentional infliction of emotional distress and defamation and seeks $300,000 in damages.
Sun-Times Media Wire