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Lawsuit claims former Chicago FF sexually harassed medic-in-training

The paramedic trainee claims the firefighter groped and made lewd remarks toward him, and that other firefighters tried to cover up the incident

By Laura French

CHICAGO — A federal lawsuit filed last week claims a former Chicago firefighter groped and made lewd remarks toward a paramedic-in-training in 2018, and that other department members tried to cover up the incident.

The suit against former Chicago Firefighter William Regan and the City of Chicago alleges Regan asked the trainee, who was a paramedic student at Malcolm X College and participating in ride-along training at the Engine 126 firehouse, if he wanted to shower and swim naked with him, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. The suit claims Regan then put his hand on the student’s leg while he was eating dinner at the station and grabbed him inappropriately.

Regan was fired after the incident, and an arbitrator ruled against him when he tried to appeal his firing, Chicago Fire Department Spokesman Larry Langford told the Sun-Times. It is unclear from reports whether Regan’s firing was directly related to the harassment claims.

The plaintiff says he reported the incident to other department members and was met with by four battalion chiefs who allegedly dismissed the incident as “firehouse horseplay” and warned him not to call the police, according to the Sun-Times.

When the plaintiff called the police, the suit claims a captain told officers the trainee didn’t know what he was talking about. The suit alleges a department-wide “code of silence” to cover up misconduct.