Read Part 1 of NBC 5 Investigates' exclusive interview with the former Fox Lake police officer who accused Fox Lake Lt. Charles Joseph Gliniewicz of sexual harassment.
Coming from a family of police officers, Denise Duebner understood the repercussions of breaking the code of silence. So when she reported Fox Lake Lt. Charles Joseph Gliniewicz to authorities 14 years ago for sexual harassment, she feared the worst.
"Everything changed," Duebner exclusively told NBC 5 Investigates. "At that point everything came down on me.”
Duebner joined the Fox Lake Police Department in 1998. By that time Gliniewicz was well-respected and already had been given the nickname G.I. Joe.
“I looked at him as a sergeant that would be able to teach me some of the things I needed to learn," Duebner said.
That quickly changed, she said.
During her review Gliniewicz told her to order new, tighter uniforms so he could see her backside. On several occasions he summoned her to a location and when she arrived, he was urinating. “He was like I could have used your help,” she said.
And then things escalated. Gliniewicz "wanted a personal relationship,” and Duebner said she was forced by him to perform sexual acts.
“I was a little intimidated by him.” Duebner said of Gliniewicz, whose "carefully staged suicide" this summer police believe was an attempt to cover up years of criminal activity.
The harassment went on for months, Duebner said, until she finally went to her police chief. But he protected his star officer, she said.
“I had plenty of proof what was going on and I brought the proof to them," she said, "but I think he was already such a big person in the department, I don’t think they were willing to take the risk on me.”
The stress became too much and Duebner eventually quit the job she loved and left town.
“I just felt like my dreams were squashed,” she said.
Now, 14 years later, she hopes that by speaking out others will come forward.
“I really struggled with doing an interview for anybody. I’m hoping that by doing this it will help whoever else he’s done it to, they will be able to come forward.”
The village denies her claims of retaliation, yet the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ruled she had a right to sue.
Duebner's lawsuit was dropped after her attorney failed to show up multiple times for court. She sued her attorney and won a $1.3 million judgment but was never able to collect. Duebner went on to work as an EMT but never again as a police officer.
Investigators of Gliniewicz's death said he had been "stealing and laundering money" from the Fox Lake Police Explorer Post for seven years and using the funds for personal purchases, mortgages, travel expenses and adult websites.
Gliniewicz's wife and son are also under investigation, according to sources close to the investigation.