CHICAGO — The police chief of a suburban Chicago park district has been accused of videotaping sexual encounters with women and sharing explicit images without their consent.
Christian Daigre is chief of the Chicago Heights Park District police. He is charged with non-consensual dissemination of private sexual images, intimidation and possession of a controlled substance, Chicago Tribune reported.
We have charged the Chief of Police of the Chicago Heights Park Dist w multiple counts of distributing sexually explicit images & threatening a witness after victims contacted CPD. Allegations are egregious & if proven, a disgraceful abuse of power & trust from police & community pic.twitter.com/UveqzKNh9O
— Anthony Guglielmi (@AJGuglielmi) October 31, 2018
Prosecutors say Daigre met the two women, 24 and 43, on online dating sites in 2016, according to the Tribune.
His bedroom in an apartment in Chicago’s South Loop neighborhood was equipped with cameras in the ceiling, which were used to videotape the sexual encounters, according to the report.
Prosecutors say Daigre then texted sexually explicit still images of the women, without their consent, to another person, the paper reports.
The two women reportedly notified police last month when they learned the images were disseminated. Daigre is the registered owner of the phone number used to send the images and has used that number for several years, according to prosecutors.
Moreover, Daigre, 40, is also accused of trying to threaten a witness. Both the person who received the text message with the explicit images and one of the victims received threatening text messages, the paper reports.
One of the messages reportedly threatened that if the women didn’t drop her charges, she should expect a lawsuit, “or worse,” prosecutors said.
Phone records show the number used to send the threatening messages was registered to Christian Smith, a pseudonym Daigre has used in the past on Facebook and on dating websites, prosecutors alleged.
As a result of the charges, Daigre surrendered to police on Monday. Bond was set at $25,000 on Wednesday, which he posted and was released. He had been placed on administrative leave, the paper reports.
When police executed a search warrant at Daigre’s South Loop apartment on Tuesday, they found a small envelope and a small bag that both contained suspected cocaine, prosecutors said.
Chicago police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said the allegations are “egregious” and, if proven, “a disgraceful abuse of power and trust from police and community.”
Daigre’s attorney Todd Pugh says his client denies all of the allegations.
He described Daigre as a married family man who served on his local parent-teacher association, played on the Chicago Police Department football team and owned his own private security firm.
Pugh told the judge his client had been set up by the cooperating witness. That person was identified as former Chicago Heights Park District Police Chief Jose Maldonado.
Pugh claimed Maldonado, who was suspended from the department in 2016 following a DUI arrest, was out to get Daigre, his successor.
“(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.
Furthermore, Pugh claimed Daigre was a key witness against Maldonado in a separate, more recent criminal case in which Maldonado is accused of falsely claiming to be the Chicago Heights Park District police chief.
The Tribune reported that court records show Maldonado was indicted earlier this month for false personation of a peace officer after “knowingly and falsely” representing himself as the Chicago Heights Park District police chief in August, while Daigre was the department’s acting chief.
Pugh said Maldonado’s “vendetta” against Daigre led him and his attorney to concoct the story about Daigre spreading sexual images of women without their consent.
Maldonado’s attorney Frank Avila called Pugh’s claims “utterly ridiculous.” He said his client had notified police of Daigre’s alleged crimes before he was indicted on the false personation charges.
Chicago Heights Park District superintendent Frank Perez said the park district placed Daigre on paid administrative leave Oct. 10, once the criminal investigation came to light. They also initiated their own internal investigation into his conduct.
Perez, who declined comment on the investigation into Daigre’s alleged misconduct, said Deputy Chief Darryl Stroud had been running the eight-member Chicago Heights Park District Police Department in Daigre’s absence.
Prior to being hired by the Chicago Heights Park District police in 2015, Daigre worked in the Robbins, Harvey, Dolton, Ford Heights and Sauk Village police departments, records show. Law Enforcement Training and Standards Board records show that both Harvey and Robbins terminated him.