BDN survey reveals harassment incidents across Stateline Area

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As claims of sexual harassment and discrimination dominated high profile industries across the country, a Beloit Daily News survey finds the issue hits close to home at some school districts and municipalities in the region.

The newspaper filed legal requests for complaints from area school districts and municipal governments between 2013 and 2017. Over the time frame, multiple issues surfaced, even as some municipalities and school districts showed no claims of sexual harassment or discrimination of any kind.

On the Wisconsin side of the state line records obtained showed incidents in both the City of Beloit and Town of Beloit. Complaints surfaced in the School Districts of Beloit and Turner, but information from the villages of Clinton, Orfordville and school districts of Parkview and Clinton resulted in no complaints. A request is still pending with the Rock County corporation counsel's office related to county employees, with information expected later this month, according to county staff handling the request.

Wisconsin

• City of Beloit

The sole complaint filed against a city employee resulted from the Beloit Police Department's internal investigation in 2016 of former officer Jeffery Loveland. Loveland resigned facing termination related to allegations he sexually harassed a woman at a West Side city school on Nov. 14, 2016, records show. As reported previously by the Beloit Daily News, Loveland allegedly "picked at" the hair of a secretary, while also untying the bow on the back of her shirt multiple times as he walked past. Loveland reached a separation agreement with the city and his resignation took effect Jan. 2, 2017.

• Town of Beloit

A complaint by a female victim against a Town employee dates to June 9, 2017, alleging the Town employee touched her leg multiple times while the pair traveled in a vehicle together. The complaint was forwarded to the Rock County Sheriff's Office but no criminal case materialized after the alleged victim failed to return sheriff's office phone calls. Though the victim's claims were not sustained by the employee's statement or the investigation, the employee was still disciplined for violating the employee code of conduct. The employee was disciplined with a letter that was to remain on file at Beloit Town Hall for a period of not less than 12 months and a one day unpaid suspension from duties to be retroactively enforced. The employee was told not to use personal vehicles for work related matters, to not transport an unauthorized civilian in a Town vehicle and to not have any further contract with the victim.

• School District of Beloit Turner

A November 2013 complaint by a female School District of Beloit Turner staff member at Townview Elementary School alleged a male cleaning crew staff member "pinched her in the a** with both hands," according to the complaint. The employee was placed on paid administrative leave for one day, suspended without pay for three days and reassigned to second shift cleaning duties, documents show. The employee was reassigned to clean the middle/high school campus instead of Townview following the alleged incident, records show.

Illinois

Across the state line, records turned up incidents in South Beloit and in the school districts of Hononegah, Rockton and Kinnikinnick. Requests to the villages of Rockton and Roscoe and the school districts of South Beloit and Prairie Hill yielded no complaints. A request is still pending with Winnebago County human resources staff related to county employees.

. South Beloit

A redacted "Last Change Employment Agreement" provided by the City of South Beloit indicates a member of the South Beloit Fire Department was demoted in rank and was placed on a five-day unpaid suspension due to a violation of the city's sexual harassment policy. The violation had to do with improper text messages sent by the fire department employee.

The agreement, dated Oct. 31, 2017, stated the person being offered the Last Change Employment Agreement also was to attend a Sexual Harassment training class, which would be selected by the fire chief. The demotion to firefighter also included a reduction in pay for the individual, according to the agreement. The violation of the sexual harassment policy occurred on Sept. 25, 2017, according to the agreement.

. Hononegah School District

Various complaints filed with the district show alleged incidents of hazing in the high school's athletic department, while a staff member was also disciplined for making a racially-charged Facebook comment that prompted an internal investigation, records indicate. An alleged hazing incident from the 2012-2013 athletic season was reported in 2016 by a student who claimed urine was dumped on the victim; having buttocks "in (the victim's) face" and "being beaten with a broom," according to the complaint. Since the incident occurred multiple years before the investigation, school district staff conducting the inquiry concluded no action could be taken "because they graduated from Hononegah Community High School," according to the investigation. There was no evidence that any coaches were aware of the alleged hazing incident.

. Rockton School District

An employee of Stephen Mack Middle School had a report placed in his employee file, noting that if any further allegations were reported, suspension or dismissal could occur, according to district records. The staff member allegedly stood behind the complainant and put both hands around the complainant's neck in a choking manner. The victim alleged the employee's pelvic area was pushed into complainant's back during the alleged exchange, according to district records.

. Kinnikinnick School District

An employee of Kinnikinnick School made a complaint against a school custodian after he allegedly made comments about the employee's appearance and had given the employee a $50 gift card and offered the employee his phone number, according to the investigation. The custodian completed sexual harassment training following the investigation, records indicate.

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