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Press Release

Former Chicago Police Officer Sentenced to a Year in Prison for Civil Rights Violation

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Illinois

CHICAGO — A former Chicago Police Officer has been sentenced to a year in prison on a federal civil rights charge for sexually assaulting an individual while on duty.

JAMES SAJDAK, 65, of Chicago, pleaded guilty last year to one count of deprivation of civil rights, a misdemeanor offense punishable by up to one year in federal prison.  U.S. District Judge John J. Tharp, Jr. imposed the sentence Friday during a hearing in federal court in Chicago.

Sajdak admitted in a plea agreement that he sexually assaulted the victim on March 5, 2019.  Sajdak, driving a marked squad car and wearing a police uniform while on duty, approached the victim on a street in Chicago’s West Garfield Park neighborhood.  Sajdak said words to the effect of, “You can get in the front seat or you can get in the back,” by which he meant that the victim should get in the car or else be arrested.  After the victim complied with his demand and got in the front seat of the squad car, Sajdak drove to an abandoned lot in a secluded area and forced the victim to engage in a sex act for Sajdak’s gratification, the plea agreement states.

The sentence was announced by Morris Pasqual, Acting United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, and Robert W. “Wes” Wheeler, Jr., Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Field Office of the FBI.

“Defendant abused the power and responsibility with which he had been entrusted,” Assistant U.S. Attorneys Alexandra Morgan and Erika L. Csicsila argued in the government’s sentencing memorandum.  In addressing the need for a statutory maximum term of imprisonment, which the Court ultimately imposed, the government also argued, “Defendant’s misconduct diminishes the public’s trust in law enforcement and the criminal justice system as a whole.”

Updated February 26, 2024

Civil Rights
Violent Crime