Alton cop who was hired despite complaint of sexual harassment resigns

By Brian Brueggemann | Jan 31, 2019

An Alton police officer who was hired despite being accused of sexual harassment at a previous job has resigned from the department, only a month after becoming a patrolman.

Kevin Hendricks, who was hired as a patrolman in mid-December, submitted his resignation on Jan. 17, and that was his last day of employment, according to city records.

Police Chief Jason Simmons did not immediately reply to requests for comment, and city officials asked for additional time to respond to an open-records request for copies of any documents or correspondence regarding Hendricks’ departure. Hendricks could not immediately be reached for comment.

Hendricks’ resignation was submitted just days after a former co-worker at the Madison County State’s Attorney’s Office questioned Hendricks’ eligibility to be hired as an Alton patrolman. On his application for the patrolman position, Hendricks checked a box confirming that he was between the ages of 21 and 35, or younger than 45 if honorably discharged from the military. The former co-worker says Hendricks is 43, and did not serve in the military – and therefore was not eligible for the job under Illinois Civil Service laws.

The former co-worker, Andrew Kane, was a secretary in the state’s attorney’s office. Hendricks previously worked as an administrator and chief investigator in the state’s attorney’s office. Kane, while employed there, accused Hendricks of sexual discrimination. Kane is suing Madison County and the state’s attorney’s office.

While employed at the state’s attorney’s office, Hendricks also was accused of sexually harassing a female co-worker. An investigation into the allegation was conducted by an outside law firm, at the request of State’s Attorney Tom Gibbons.

In its report, the law firm, Kurowski Schultz, did not make a conclusion on whether Hendricks sexually harassed the woman, and Hendricks denied the allegations that he made “unwanted acts” toward her. But the report noted there were “several things” that “reflected adversely upon the credibility of Kevin Hendricks,” and that he “does not have a full appreciation of the significance of his alleged conduct here in a professional office setting and that it should not be tolerated.”

The Alton Police Department was aware of the harassment allegation when Hendricks was considered for employment. Simmons, the police chief, conducted the background investigation of Hendricks. In a report submitted to the city’s Civil Service commission, Simmons stated that Gibbons told him the sexual harassment complaint was “without merit.”

Gibbons wrote a letter of recommendation to the Alton Police Department on behalf of Hendricks.

“Throughout his employment with this office, Mr. Hendricks performed in an exemplary fashion and had a clean disciplinary record with no violations of office policy,” Gibbons wrote. “Mr. Hendricks voluntarily terminated his employment on March 1, 2018, and received a severance package.”

The woman who accused Hendricks reached a settlement with the state’s attorney’s office, under which she received a promotion and a $12,000 raise. She also received $5,000 for attorney costs.

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