Former Chicago Park District supervisor Hector Coz charged with sexually assaulting 17-year-old lifeguard in 2018

CHICAGO (CBS) — A former Chicago Park District lifeguard supervisor has been charged with sexually assaulting a 17-year-old lifeguard while she was working at a Jefferson Park pool in 2018.

Hector Coz, 25, is charged with two counts of criminal sexual assault and one count of aggravated criminal sexual abuse.

Hector Coz is charged with sexually assaulting a 17-year-old lifeguard under his supervision at a Jefferson Park swimming pool in 2018.

Chicago Police

Prosecutors say, while Coz and the victim were working at the Jefferson Memorial Park swimming pool in July or August of 2018, he sexually assaulted the girl by rubbing her breasts under her swimsuit and penetrating her vagina with his fingers while restraining her against her will.

Police said Coz was arrested at his home in Naperville on Wednesday by the fugitive apprehension unit and U.S. Marshals Great Lakes Regional Fugitive Task Force after the victim, who is now 21 years old, filed her complaint.

A judge set Coz’s bond at $275,000  on Thursday, and ordered him placed on electronic monitoring if he’s released from custody. He’s also been ordered not to have any contact with the victim, or anyone under age 18, if he is able to post bail.

Coz has not been employed by the Chicago Park District since Sept. 7, 2020, according to a district spokesperson.

“The Chicago Park District is committed to providing a work and recreation environment for our employees and patrons that is rooted in safety, respect and accountability,” a Park District spokesperson said in an email

Coz is the second Chicago Park District supervisor to face charges of sexually assaulting a lifeguard. 

Mauricio Ramirez was charged last year with sexually assaulting a 16-year-old girl who worked as a lifeguard this past summer, and with sexually assaulting a 15-year-old girl as she was working as a lifeguard in 2013.

Ramirez was the first Park District employee to face criminal charges stemming from multiple investigations into allegations of widespread sexual assault, abuse, and harassment against women and girls who have worked as lifeguards at the city’s pools and beaches.

The scandal led to the resignations last year of former Park District CEO Mike Kelly and former Park District Board chair Avis LaVelle.

Kelly’s resignation came just weeks after Chicago Park District Inspector General Elaine Little resigned amid her office’s ongoing investigation into widespread sexual harassment targeting female lifeguards.

Little’s resignation came after WBEZ Chicago Public Radio reported Little was herself under an investigation into “alleged conflicts and wrongdoing” upon leaving a post as director of investigations at the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center three years ago.

In August, Kelly said the investigation by Little’s office had resulted in disciplinary action against 42 employees since the probe into harassment among lifeguards began last March.

Two top managers, the district’s assistant director of beaches and pools, and the beaches and pools manager, both were placed on emergency suspension last month, based on information Kelly received from the inspector general. Both will remain on suspension until the inspector general’s investigation is completed.

Meantime, two other employees were terminated and barred from future employment with the district, six resigned and were placed on the district’s “do not hire” list, nine were suspended, five remain on emergency suspension, and 18 received written reprimands.

The inspector general’s probe – first disclosed by WBEZ – began in March 2020, when Kelly turned over a complaint he received from a former lifeguard, who described a toxic environment at Oak Street Beach, accusing fellow lifeguards of subjecting her and others to sexual harassment, and sexual and physical abuse. She also reported witnessing rampant drug and alcohol use by fellow lifeguards.

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