CHICAGO — A Cook County judge was reassigned from the courtroom on Tuesday after he was accused of calling a prosecutor a “bitch” and insinuating that he might have had sex with her in law school.
Chief Judge Timothy Evans reassigned Judge Mauricio Araujo to administrative duties and ordered that all judges and court employees attend sexual harassment training next month, a court spokesman said. The county includes Chicago and its inner suburbs.
Araujo has denied the allegations.
Evans and the system’s 17 presiding judges will meet Oct. 3 to discuss Araujo’s alleged conduct, spokesman Pat Milhizer said in a statement.
Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx raised the allegations in a letter to Araujo’s boss, Judge LeRoy Martin, the criminal court’s presiding judge.
“As work places across the country contend with issues of sexual harassment and misconduct, it is critical to have clear protocols for reporting, investigating, and accountability for such allegations,” Foxx wrote.
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The allegations against the Araujo surfaced as the nation grapples with allegations of sexual misconduct by Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Kavanaugh’s Senate confirmation is in peril after two women say they were assaulted by the federal judge when he was a teen.
An assistant state’s attorney described the allegations against Araujo in a memo obtained by USA TODAY through a Freedom of Information Act request. The names of the prosecutor and her colleagues who say they witnessed Araujo’s comments were blacked out.
The Chicago Tribune was first to report the allegations.
The incident allegedly occurred on Sept. 11, after the prosecutor appeared before for a hearing on a pending murder case, Assistant State’s Attorney Steven Block wrote in the memo.
One of the prosecutor’s colleagues alleged that Araujo demeaned the prosecutor after she did not seem to acknowledge that they both attended law school together.
Araujo is a 1993 graduate of the law school at Loyola University Chicago.
After the prosecutor left the courtroom, according to the memo, the colleague heard the judge grumble in Spanish about the woman to his clerk.
“She walked in and didn’t even give me any congrats or acknowledge me,” Araujo said, according to the colleague. “She acted like she didn’t know who I was.”.
Later that day, another colleague alleged, Araujo called the prosecutor a “bitch.”.
“You think you went to (expletive) law school with someone you would think she would say hi to you,” Araujo said, according to the colleague.
The colleague suggested jokingly to Araujo that perhaps the prosecutor didn’t recognize the judge in his robes.
“Our law school class had only about 50 people and she can’t say hi to me,” the judge replied, according to the colleague. “Well, maybe it’s because I didn’t have sex with her or maybe it’s because I did have sex with her. Well, it’s one or the other.”.
The prosecutor told Block that Araujo had made several unwanted sexual advances toward her when they were in law school – all of which she rebuffed.
The two had seen each around the courthouse, the prosecutor said, but until her brief appearance on the murder case had not spoken since law school.
The murder case, which Araujo took over from a recently retired judge, has now been assigned to another judge.
Araujo, 53, told the Tribune that he “did not call her bitch. I do not believe I did.”.
The judge also told the Tribune he “doubts” he made advances toward her during law school or “said those words” suggesting he might have had sex with her.