In a case of #MeToo at the judicial level, a Chicago judge abused his power with a series of women with whom he came into contact on the job, including asking a court reporter “how much money” it would take for her to have sex with him, trying to kiss a police officer, and making sexually disparaging remarks about a prosecutor, an Illinois judicial oversight board charged in a complaint Thursday.
Cook County Judge Mauricio Araujo had already been reassigned from judicial duties to administrative ones last fall after a complaint was filed concerning his treatment of the prosecutor, the Chicago Sun-Times reports. Now, Araujo faces a hearing before the Illinois Courts Commission, which could suspend, remove or punish him in some other way.
Araujo has brought “the judicial office into disrepute,” said the Judicial Inquiry Board, which urged the Courts Commission to take “appropriate” action against him, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Araujo had no comment Thursday.
The oversight board launched its investigation last fall when a complaint was filed against the judge, charging he had referred to a prosecutor as a “bitch” and suggested he may have had sex with her, the Tribune reports.
The prosecutor in question had gone to law school with Araujo, and had rebuffed advances from him back then, the complaint indicates. After she appeared before him on a case, Araujo complained in court to the clerk that the prosecutor didn’t “acknowledge him.”
After news of the prosecutor’s complaints became public, two other women came forward with complaints against the judge — a court clerk and a police officer.
The court clerk charged that on more than one occasion in 2012, the judge caught her in an elevator and demanded to know “how much money” it would take to convince her to have sex with him. When she pointed out that they were both were in relationships, he indicated he didn’t care, the complaint notes.
The clerk didn’t complain at the time for fear of ruining her career, but she would take the stairs rather than ride the elevators to avoid being hemmed up by him, according to the complaint.
The police officer said she had to rebuff similar advances by the judge in 2016 when he tried to kiss her as she approached him to get his signature on a warrant.
As the Tribune explained:
The officer extended her arm outward and told him, “Back sir,” a technique she was taught “during her police training for halting a potentially dangerous physical encounter,” the complaint states.
At another point, Araujo allegedly tried to grab the officer’s hand and told her to “touch my butt.”
Araujo eventually signed the warrant and the officer left the courthouse.
The officer also didn’t report the judge, but she made sure she always brought someone with her whenever she needed to get a search warrant signed by him, according to the complaint.