A Lake County Sheriff’s deputy has lost his job even though he was acquitted last year of soliciting a prostitute.
Eric Francke, 33, of Antioch, was found not guilty in December 2013 on a felony charge of obstructing justice and a misdemeanor charge of soliciting a sexual act, the Lake County News-Sun reported at the time.
Francke, a deputy since September 2008, was accused of offering a woman $300 to perform a sex act and knowingly destroying his text messages to her.
He had been on administrative leave without pay since May 2013 after he was charged, according to a statement from the sheriff’s office.
Francke was terminated “based on departmental policy violations,” the statement said.
And following an appeal, the decision was upheld Tuesday by an arbitrator who found “Francke did in fact seek sex in return for money and when he denied it, lied to the [o]ffice,” the statement said.
The arbitrator “rejected both of the Union’s arguments that: (1) the Employer was guilty of disparate treatment in issuing discipline and/or (2) should have proceeded with progressive discipline and not gone directly to discharging Francke in this case,” the statement said.
At trial, prosecutors said Francke arranged a meeting for prostitution services in May, after responding to an ad under the adult escorts section of a website. The meeting never happened because the woman and two men were stopped for a traffic offense on the way.
Mundelein police arrested the woman on an outstanding warrant for prostitution. Her cell phone contained a series of text messages arranging the meeting with Francke, prosecutors said.
That woman had been scheduled to testify during Francke’s trial but never showed up to court in Waukegan.
Defense attorneys contended Francke committed no crime because none of the text messages contained any mention of sexual activity in return for money. Francke told police he called the woman for a massage to help with a leg cramping problem.