On December 30, 2014, former Round Lake Heights police officer Hossein Isbitan filed a sexual harassment and retaliation lawsuit against the Village of Round Lake Heights and Round Lake Heights Police Chief John Roehlk.
Isbitan, a 31 year old man, claims that Chief Roehlk subjected him to sexual harassment after Roehlk hired Isbitan as a police officer in November 2013.
According to Isbitan, Roehlk began making lewd, inappropriate and unprofessional comments to him. Isbitan claims that Roehlk was physically and sexually attracted to him and wanted to have a personal and romantic relationship with Isbitan.
The following are some of the allegations that Isbitan made in his sexual harassment and reataliation lawsuit complaint:
- Defendant ROEHLK complimented Plaintiff for “looking sexy,” stated that he was “hot,” and asked Plaintiff to go shopping with him.
- In the first several weeks after being hired, Defendant ROEHLK invited Plaintiff on several occasions to spend the night at his home. Plaintiff declined ROEHLK’S invitations to spend the night with him.
- At a holiday party in late December, 2013, Defendant ROEHLK physically touched Plaintiff in the presence of others, rubbing his shoulders and back and hugging him.
- In early January, 2014, while riding in a squad car with Plaintiff, Defendant ROEHLK told Plaintiff that he was “sexy” and complimented him on how his arms looked.
- Also in January, 2014, Plaintiff and ROEHLK attended a training class together. During a lunch break at this class, ROEHLK told Plaintiff that they should spend time together while they were off duty, and suggested that they could enjoy outdoors activities together.
- On several occasions, ROEHLK took photographs of Plaintiff when Plaintiff was not looking, and then sent the photos to Plaintiff via text or email.
- Throughout the first several months of 2014, Defendant ROEHLK repeatedly tried to get Plaintiff to agree to have a personal and romantic relationship with him. Plaintiff did not wish to have a romantic relationship with ROEHLIK, and refused his overtures.
- Defendant ROEHLK persisted in wooing Plaintiff, and began to give him gifts and greeting cards.
- For Valentine’s Day, ROEHLK left pieces of chocolate candy in the police vehicle that Plaintiff was assigned to work in; he also left chocolate candy in Plaintiff’s mailbox at the police station.
- Plaintiff received a Saint Patrick’s Day greeting card from ROEHLK, which was stated “You are my lucky charm,” and was signed “SECRET ADMIRR!” (sic)
- Defendant ROEHLK frequently contacted Plaintiff on days when Plaintiff was not working, inquired about his personal life and what he was doing, and telling Plaintiff that he also stated missed him.
- In January, 2014, ROEHLK attended a concert while off duty. He called Plaintiff from this concert and told Plaintiff that he wished he (i.e. Plaintiff) was there at the concert with him.
- On one occasion, ROEHLK contacted Plaintiff while Plaintiff was at home to ask what he was doing that day. Plaintiff responded to ROEHLK that he was going to go for a run, and ROEHLK then wanted to know if Plaintiff would go running without a shirt, because that would be “so hot.”
- On several occasions, ROEHLK asked to see Plaintiff with his shirt off. Plaintiff refused these requests, and he also began dressing at home before work rather than using the police department’s locker room, so that he could avoid having to change clothes with ROEHLK nearby.
- When ROEHLK learned that Plaintiff was the fan of a certain college football team, he purchased a hat with the team’s insignia on it and gave it to Plaintiff as a gift.
- In March, 2014, both Plaintiff and ROEHLK attended the funeral of a police officer from another community. At this funeral, ROEHLK told Plaintiff that he looked very sexy and wanted to have his photograph taken with Plaintiff.
- At work, ROEHLK frequently stared at Plaintiff, took Plaintiff’s photograph for no reason, and complemented Plaintiff about his physical appearance.
- On several occasions during 2014, while Plaintiff was at work, ROEHLK approached him and touched him inappropriately; for example, he tried to hug Plaintiff and at other times rubbed his back.
- ROEHLK often invited Plaintiff to dinner and other social events.
- On one occasion in March, 2014, ROEHLK made a pizza for Plaintiff and brought it to work. On this same date, ROEHLK asked Plaintiff if he could call him “baby.” Plaintiff said no.
- Beginning when Plaintiff was hired by Defendant VILLAGE and Defendant ROEHLK, he regularly received text messages from ROEHLK which showed that ROEHLK was determined to have a romantic and sexual relationship with Plaintiff. Some examples of these text messages from ROEHLK include:
- ROEHLK texted Plaintiff “I struck gold with you Sam.”
- ROEHLK texted Plaintiff “If I get fired or move to a different department, I’ll hire you immediately.”
- ROEHLK texted Plaintiff “I couldn’t be more pleased with the excellent officer you’ve become and the man that you are. You truly are my rock star.”
- ROEHLK sent a text of a photograph of a piece of candy to Plaintiff; the candy was shaped like a heart and contained the words “I FUCKING LOVE YOU.”
- ROEHLK sent Plaintiff a text bemoaning the fact that he did not hire him sooner, stating “I could kick myself … I could’ve known you 4 months earlier.”
- When the weather turned warm, ROEHLK sent a message to Plaintiff which stated “60 tomorrow … Shirtless weather 4 U.”
- ROEHLK sent Plaintiff a message where he gushed about how great it was to have met Plaintiff: “You lifted me out of my slight depression. You gave me hope, sense of purpose… the impact you had on me personally is astounding.”
- Several text messages from ROEHLK described Plaintiff as a “stud,” a “stud-muffin,” and a “rock star.”
- Once, when ROEHLK was in Las Vegas, he sent text messages to Plaintiff which stated “Sam, I miss you so much,” “Wish you were here,” “missing you man,” and also “88 today! You would love this. You’d be the star of the pool.”
- In April, 2014, Defendant ROEHLK invited Plaintiff to attend the Chicago Cubs opening day baseball game with him. Plaintiff declined, and responded to ROEHLK that he already had plans to go to this game with friends.
- ROEHLK became upset at this refusal, and in April, 2014, Defendant ROEHLK sent Plaintiff a text message stating “I’ve done everything I know how to invite you into my personal life, something I rarely do, but it’s clear you don’t want to be there. So I’ll just dtop [sic] trying.”
- During April and May, 2014, Defendant ROEHLK then became hostile, moody, and rude to Plaintiff at work. ROEHLIK began to criticize Plaintiff’s performance at work. On several occasions, Plaintiff complained about Defendant ROEHLK’S inappropriate and bizarre behavior to another employee of Defendant VILLAGE, Sgt. Scott Crawford.
- Sgt. Crawford however took no action, provided Plaintiff with no guidance, and did nothing to investigate Plaintiff’s complaints.
- Plaintiff also told other employees of Defendant VILLAGE about ROEHLK’S misconduct; however, none of them took any action to either investigate ROEHLK or stop his behavior.
- On August 12, 2014, Defendant ROEHLK called Plaintiff into his office and fired him. Plaintiff asked ROEHLK why he was being fired, and the only response from ROEHLK was that he was not “fitting in” at the police department.
- Prior to being fired, Plaintiff’s work as a member of the Defendant VILLAGE’S police department was exemplary, and in fact Defendant ROEHLK repeatedly praised Plaintiff’s performance to both Plaintiff himself and others.
- As a result of all that has happened to him, Plaintiff has suffered great embarrassment and stress as well as the loss of his job.
- As of the date of this filing, Plaintiff has made valiant efforts to find another law enforcement job, but has not been able do so. Plaintiff has been repeatedly informed that this is because he was fired by Defendant ROEHLK.
This is a report on a civil lawsuit filed at the U.S. District Court. The details in this report come from an original complaint filed by a plaintiff. Please note that a complaint represents an accusation by a private individual, not the government. It is not an indication of guilt, and it represents only one side of the story.