City Cast
July 21, 2021

Former Lifeguards Say Beaches Were A Culture of Abuse

Back in April, WBEZ reporter Dan Mihalopoulos reported that that the Chicago Park District was looking into allegations by former lifeguards who say they experienced “criminal sexual assault and aggravated criminal sexual abuse” while working at city beaches and pools. The internal investigation had been happening for more than a year, and according to documents, revealed that the parks superintendent knew about the allegations for at least a month before reporting them to the Inspector General’s office. After Mihalopoulos’ reporting in April, dozens of women reached out and described a culture of abuse, harassment, and assault. The Park District says it won’t answer questions until the Inspector General’s report is done. And, now, Mihalopoulos has learned that toxic culture goes beyond Chicago’s border and extends north to Evanston, where former lifeguards signed a petition last year asking for a probe into alleged abuse.

We talk to Dan Mihalopoulos about what’s happening with each of these investigations.


Warning: There are graphic descriptions of sexual assault in this episode.


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