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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of Illinois

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, July 13, 2022

Former Illinois Department of Agriculture Investigator Charged with Federal Civil Rights Violations for Allegedly Grabbing and Groping Multiple Individuals While on Duty

CHICAGO — A former investigator for the Illinois Department of Agriculture has been charged with federal civil rights violations for allegedly grabbing and groping several operators of animal care facilities while on duty.

An indictment unsealed today in U.S. District Court in Chicago charges JOSE GUILLEN, 41, of Melrose Park, Ill., with four counts of deprivation of civil rights under color of law and one count of obstruction of justice.  Guillen pleaded not guilty to the charges at his arraignment this afternoon in federal court.  A status hearing was scheduled for Aug. 10, 2022, at 9:00 a.m., before U.S. District Judge Joan Humphrey Lefkow.

The indictment was announced by John R. Lausch, Jr., United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; and Emmerson Buie, Jr., Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Field Office of the FBI.  The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Amarjeet Bhachu and Diane MacArthur.

Guillen worked for the Illinois Department of Agriculture as an animal and animal products investigator, conducting on-site inspections of animal care facilities in Cook County, Ill., to ensure compliance with state laws.  In his official capacity as an investigator, Guillen had the power to influence whether an animal care facility received a license to operate and could continue in operation after receiving the license.  The indictment accuses Guillen of grabbing and groping the victims in 2019, 2020, and 2021 while Guillen was on duty and acting under color of law as a state employee. 

The obstruction charge accuses Guillen of knowingly providing false testimony during a deposition last year in a federal civil lawsuit filed by one of the alleged victims.  The charge states that Guillen falsely testified under oath that he had accidentally touched the victim’s buttocks during the course of an on-site inspection at an animal care facility, and that he falsely denied touching other alleged victims.

The public is reminded that an indictment is not evidence of guilt.  The defendant is presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.  The obstruction count is punishable by up to 20 years in federal prison, while each count of deprivation of civil rights is punishable by up to one year.  If convicted, the Court must impose a reasonable sentence under federal statutes and the advisory U.S. Sentencing Guidelines.

If you have additional relevant information related to the charged offenses or the defendant, you are encouraged to contact the FBI Chicago Field Office at (312) 421-6700.

Updated July 13, 2022