Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Cook County judges ordered to take sexual harassment class as Criminal Court judge is yanked from the bench

Judge William Hooks | Ballotpedia
A Cook County Criminal Court judge has been re-assigned to administrative duties and ordered to undergo anger management counseling following an out-of-court incident that involved another judge. Additionally, all Cook County judges have been ordered to undergo an online sexual harassment management class. News of the reassignment and mandatory training came in a flurry of court emails, memos, and press releases on Monday evening.

Judge William H. Hooks, 65, was removed from his seat on the Criminal Court and reassigned to handle administrative work at the Markham courthouse while being “mentored” by Circuit Court Judges Sharon M. Sullivan and Tommy Brewer, Chief Judge Timothy Evans announced on Monday. The announcement was made after Hooks appeared with an attorney before the Court’s Executive Committee to “[offer] his version of the alleged events.”

A Special Order of the Court issued after the hearing removed Hooks from the bench and said Hooks “acted in such a manner as to create a hostile work environment for another judge” in violation of Illinois Supreme Court Rule 61.

Rule 61 states “a judge should participate in establishing, maintaining, and enforcing, and should personally observe, high standards of conduct so that the integrity and independence of the judiciary may be preserved.”

The other judge has been identified by a CWBChicago source as a female judge in the Criminal Division. CWBChicago is withholding the jurist's name as she is a considered a victim in the matter.

The Special Order also requires Hooks to “receive anger management counseling designed to address and remedy the alleged conduct.” Hooks was said to have “expressed contrition” at the Executive Committee hearing.

The committee referred the matter to the state Judicial Inquiry Board.

A copy of the Special Order was provided to CWBChicago by a source who requested anonymity because they are not authorized to speak publicly about court matters. Neither Evans’ statement nor the Executive Committee’s Special Order detailed the allegations against Hooks.

Evans sent a separate memo to judges on Monday in which he announced that they would each “soon be the beneficiary of harassment prevention training.”

“The online training highlights all the important aspects of sexual harassment including definition, types, reporting, and retaliation.”

Evans’ memo to judges did not draw a connection between the mandatory sexual harassment training and Hooks’ alleged behavior.

Hooks has been a judge since 2008 and was retained by the voters in 2016.
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