‘ABUSE OF POWER’
Illinois Police Chief Shared Photos From Secret Recordings of Sexual Encounters: Prosecutors
The police chief met multiple women online and covertly recorded their sexual encounters, then sent screenshots to a fellow colleague, prosecutors allege.
An Illinois police chief secretly recorded his sexual encounters with at least two women, then shared explicit images of them without their consent, prosecutors alleged this week.
Christian Daigre, the Chicago Heights Park District police chief, has been charged with two felony counts of non-consensual dissemination of sexual images, two counts of intimidation, and one count of drug possession after an investigation, the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office confirmed to The Daily Beast.
“Allegations are egregious & if proven, [it is] a disgraceful abuse of power & trust from police & community,” Chicago police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi tweeted Wednesday, announcing the arrest.
Daigre was placed on administrative earlier this month, Guglielmi confirmed to The Daily Beast, and appeared for a bail hearing Wednesday, where a Cook County judge set his bail bond at $25,000.
Two women, a 24-year-old and a 43-year-old, allegedly met Daigre through an online-dating site and each had several consensual sexual encounters with him in early 2016. Unbeknownst to them, Daigre filmed those encounters with a camera placed on the ceiling of his studio apartment, prosecutors allege.
Daigre, who is married with four children, then sent still images from the recordings via text message to another person without the women’s consent, prosecutors said on Wednesday.
“Neither victim gave defendant permission to record the sexual acts nor disseminate the images,” Assistant State’s Attorney Rachel Mabbott said.
In some of the blurry photos, Daigre appears to be giving the camera a thumbs-up, police said.
“There’s more than two women, and I’m hoping through the media and through the exposure on this case, more women come forward,” said Frank Avila, an attorney for one of the victims.
When police searched the apartment Tuesday, they also found a small envelope and bag containing what they believe to be cocaine, prosecutors said.
Earlier this month, the two women contacted the authorities after learning of the existence of the videos and explicit text messages, according to police. The phone number that sent the messages is registered to Daigre, prosecutors said.
Prosecutors allege the police chief sent the images to a fellow cop in the department—then later sent threatening text messages to the colleague and his victims after they went to the police.
In the threatening texts, which were linked to Diagre through phone records, the police chief said he would hurt the cooperating colleague and his family, and claimed that if his female victims didn’t drop their charges, they would be sued, “or worse,” prosecutors said.
The number the texts were sent from was allegedly registered to Christian Smith, a pseudonym Daigre has used in the past on Facebook and various dating websites, authorities said.
Daigre’s attorney, Todd Pugh, told The Daily Beast on Thursday that his client denies all of the allegations and is being unfairly framed.
“The allegations alone and these charges have absolutely destroyed his life,” Pugh said.
In court Wednesday, the defense attorney described Daigre as a married family man, an organizer for his local parent-teacher association, and a member of the Chicago Police Department football team. He claimed Daigre has been set up by the cooperating witness, identifying him as former Chicago Heights Park District Police Chief Jose Maldonado.
Maldonado did not immediately respond to The Daily Beast’s request for comment.
Pugh told the judge that Maldonado, who was suspended in 2016 after a DUI arrest, was out to get Daigre because he served as a key witness in a recent criminal case in which Maldonado was accused of falsely claiming to be the Chicago Heights Park District police chief.
“[Daigre] didn’t have any bad blood with him, but he didn’t think that he supported him, maybe, to the level that he should have,” Pugh said of Maldonado.
Court records confirm that Maldonado was indicted earlier this month for false personation of a police officer and “knowingly and falsely” representing himself as the Chicago Heights Park District police chief in August, when Daigre was the department’s acting chief.
“This has been a vendetta case against my client for being a state’s witness against the alleged victim in this case,” Pugh insisted in court.
Frank Avila, who is also Maldonado’s attorney, shot back in court, calling the claims “utterly ridiculous,” noting his client had told police of Daigre’s alleged crimes before he was indicted for the false personation charge.
“It’s an illogical argument and the truth will come out. My clients’ allegations are just the tip of the iceberg,” Avila said.
As for the video camera, Pugh concluded in court, the apartment had a large sign telling people they were on camera.
“Anybody who was in that apartment was on notice that they were being recorded,” he said.