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Anti-violence worker sues Cure Violence over sexual harassment allegations

CHICAGO -- A prominent organization fighting violence on Chicago’s streets is facing allegations of sexual harassment.

In the lawsuit, a worker at Cure Violence claimed she was repeatedly subjected to harassment over the past five years.

Cure Violence uses ex-offenders to go out into the community to prevent violence. One of the organization’s leaders is at the center of the allegations. WGN News is not naming him because he has not been criminally charged with sexual harassment or abuse.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of a current worker at Cure Violence, but several other women are expected to be added later. Three women spoke at a news conference Wednesday and detailed incidents in which they said they were sexually harassed, even assaulted, and they said they were retailed against when they reported him to human resources.

A fourth woman, who the attorney said was too afraid to speak out publicly for fear of retaliation, claimed when she reported the man to human resources, she was told he was in the process of transition from a rougher life, so his behavior was to be expected and that she shouldn’t worry about it.

She said the man came to her later and said, "You know snitches get stitches,” and laughed.

The University of Illinois, which oversees the CURE Violence program, issued a statement that reads in part:

“The University and Cure Violence take all allegations of possible sexual misconduct in all of its forms very seriously. The University has received one charge of alleged misconduct related to Cure Violence that is already under investigation by the UIC Office for Access and Equity. The University has not been served with a federal lawsuit concerning Cure Violence. The University and Cure Violence cannot discuss specific personnel matters."