Dog daycare owners horrified after prosecutors decline to prosecute State Inspector Jose Guillen, who was caught on camera fondling her
CHICAGO (CBS) – A state inspector was caught on camera fondling a dog daycare owner in Bucktown, and CBS 2 has learned he doesn’t face criminal charges.
Illinois Department of Agriculture Inspector Jose Guillen was fired after we first reported the story last summer. Many other accusers soon came forward.
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CBS 2 investigator Megan Hickey on Thursday explored why prosecutors aren’t pursuing a case against Guillen.
“Then he puts his hand on my shoulder, on my arm, on my back. I did not know, what I should do. I just thought let it happen and be over,” Leah Bindig, Bindig, owner of Aeslin Pup Hub, told us in July.
It wasn’t just Bindig’s word against Guillens – it was all on tape. Surveillance video showed Guillen – who was there to conduct an inspection at the dog daycare on which Bindig’s livelihood depended – getting closer until they touched.
In fact, Guillen was repeatedly caught on camera in 2019 inspecting more than just dog daycare owner Leah Bindig’s shop. He was seen touching her against her will – her shoulders, her back, her rump – and pressed against her while holding the results of her inspection over her.
“He’s holding the clipboard as he hugs me and it’s not signed saying we passed – and I’m wondering what should I do? What am I doing? Tell him to stop?’ Nindig said last year.
What Bindig didn’t realize when she spoke to us was that she wasn’t the first.
“He shook my hand, pulled me in, and then the hand went up from the middle of my back — and then down to my bottom,” Magda Szymczyk, owner of Gypsy Cats NFP Inc. Feline Sanctuary, told us in July.
Nearly a dozen women business owners came forward to CBS 2 investigators with nearly identical stories of sexual harassment.
“I thought he was going to shake my hand — he put his arm out to shake my hand — and he was pulling me, he was hugging me, and the next thing I knew, there was a hand on my butt,” said Bonnie Bloom. Owner of Lucky Dog Pet Service.
And at least four of the women went to the Chicago Police Department to report the abuse after our story aired.
“I knew it was wrong, but he had all the power,” said “Kate,” an animal rescue owner and retired Chicago police officer. “He controlled whether I got the license or not.”
Binding said the moment they all met at the police station was incredibly emotional.
“We didn’t know it was like other women that this had happened to, and part of me regrets that I didn’t come forward sooner — because if I had, it would have happened to some women afterwards,” she said .
Guillen was fired from the Department of Agriculture after our story aired. Meanwhile, prosecutors told Leah’s legal team, “It seems pretty dry,” said attorney Mindy Schwab.
They were considering an official misconduct charge because the alleged encounters all happened while Guillen was on the watch to get paid by Illinois taxpayers.
“What he’s doing is against the law, and he’s doing it in his official capacity on behalf of the state,” Schwab said.
But six months later, those victims were told that the Cook County Attorney’s Office “declines to press charges.”
When Hickey asked why, she was simply told, “No comment.”
“So touching my butt wasn’t enough? It wasn’t enough to say inappropriate comments?” said Bindig. “I mean, you know, tell me Kim Foxx, how far would he have had to go physically where you’re saying that’s inappropriate?”
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Kaethe Morris Hoffer is executive director of the Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation, CAASE for short.
“I think there’s a very good chance that by disrupting this behavior, we can stop it,” she said.
Hoffer agrees that it’s hard to fathom why these complaints don’t fall under official misconduct.
“It is very reasonable that the victims would interpret a refusal to prosecute him as an expression of denigration of what happened to the women,” she said.
Hoffer said it jibes with her report, which looks at crime data spanning decades, in which sex crime survivors who reported it to Chicago police faced “grossly inadequate responses.”
“At the very least, a criminal complaint would have sent some kind of message that something could happen to you if you behave this way,” Schwab said.
Guillen has not responded to our multiple requests for comment. But he sat for a video testimony.
In that statement, Guillen initially claimed he had “non-verbal consent” to touching Bindig because Bindig smiled at him. He also claimed she made the first move – although raw surveillance video shows otherwise.
“Non-verbal consent does not exist for everyone – except in this case,” Guillen said in the statement.
But later in the statement, the explanation completely changed – and he claimed that at one point he “fell” and used Leah’s rear end to regain his balance.
Lawyer: “So you fell then?”
manure: “I kept my balance to make sure I didn’t fall.”
Lawyer: “And for balance, did you end up touching her buttocks?”
manure: “That’s right.”
Lawyer: “There was nothing else for you to keep from losing your balance?”
manure: “No no.”
Binbin says even a disappointing setback like this won’t stop her from speaking out.
“At about what point does that stop?” she said. “I mean, some might say it’s not as bad as other physical injuries, but that’s how it starts.”
Again, the Cook County Attorney’s Office declined to comment on our story. There is still a pending civil case against Guillen, but the state of Illinois claimed immunity and was dismissed from the case.
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We have also reached out to Guillen’s attorney for comment on this story. She replied, “No comment.”