The disgraced Illinois cop who killed himself after allegedly embezzling thousands of dollars from a police youth group and attempting to hire a hit man to kill a town administrator was also accused of repeatedly grabbing women’s breasts at multiple Christmas parties, being a drunken nuisance at local bars, and using a donated gift certificate to get a free tattoo while on duty.
Lake County police say Lt. Joseph Gliniewicz “carefully staged” his own suicide on September 1 to make it look like he died while pursuing three suspicious men, triggering a days-long manhunt. Weeks later it was revealed Gliniewicz was shot by his own gun and then, on Tuesday, police ruled his death a suicide.
The story only got weirder: The next day police said Gliniewicz’s death came after investigators began looking into his alleged theft from the department’s Explorer Post youth group—he reportedly stole thousands of dollars, some of which he used on pornography. Later, Illinois officials announced they were also investigating Gliniewicz’s wife and son, who they say knew about the theft, that Gliniewicz attempted to hire a former gang member to kill one of the Lake County officials investigating him, and that cocaine was discovered inside the 30-year veteran’s desk after his death.
Now the Chicago Tribune has obtained Gliniewicz’s personnel files, which include multiple accusations of sexual harassment, sexual assault, public drunkenness, blatant misuse of police property, and theft.
Gliniewicz was such a menace that several officers from his department wrote an anonymous letter to the Fox Lake mayor about the 30-year veteran’s behavior. From the letter:
- [Gliniewicz s]omehow obtained control over a certificate for a free tattoo that was donated to the department. Used the certificate to obtain a tattoo while on?duty. The time was later charged as a vacation or comp day after members approached Chief Behan.
- On several occasions at different department Christmas parties, inappropriately touched women (grabbed their breasts). Complaint was made to Chief Behan.
The letter also accused the former lieutenant of using his squad car for a family vacation, of allowing “several civilian vehicles to fill their tanks with gas at the village pumps,” giving civilians—some of whom had criminal records—unrestricted access to the police department. It also said bouncers at local bars had repeatedly complained about Gliniewicz’s drunken behavior. Another example of Gliniewicz’s drinking, via the Tribune:
Among their accusations backed up by other records in his personnel file was a report from May 1988 that Gliniewicz was found “passed out” in the driver’s seat of his truck on the shoulder of a Fox Lake road, with the engine running and his foot on the gas.
Officers took Gliniewicz home and towed his truck, but when he awoke later that day he had no memory of what happened and reported his truck as stolen to the Lake County sheriff’s office. He later said he’d been drinking after playing volleyball with friends.
Detective Christopher Covelli with the Lake County sheriff’s office said Gliniewicz wrote that he was “being forced to retire” by Village Administrator Anne Marrin and was “close to entertaining a meeting with a mutual acquaintance of (ours) with the word White in their nickname” in Facebook messages sent to a woman in April.
The woman, who is not being identified because she is not part of the ongoing investigation, claimed that the message referred to a “high-ranking motorcycle gang member,” according to Covelli, and that Gliniewicz discussed hiring him to “initiate a hit” on Marrin.
Are there any crimes Gliniewicz wasn’t accused of committing? At this rate, it seems very unlikely.