Illinois Correctional Officer Found Guilty For Grabbing Bartender In Her Crotch

Donald L. Cheney, Jr.

Generally, I would not think that this case would be of interest here because it’s unlike other cases I report that involve excessive use of force while on duty.  This one caught my attention because we have a president in office who said when men have money, they can do whatever they want to women — even grab them in their private areas.

Donald L. Cheney, Jr. did just that, and this case shows what women have to go through and prove to get a semblance of justice.

Illinois Department of Corrections Officer Donald L. Cheney, Jr. 42-years old, has been convicted of misdemeanor battery for doing what Donald Trump said he can do because he has money. Cheney Jr. was a correctional officer at a women’s prison in Illinois.

Cheney Jr. was originally charged with felony criminal sexual abuse.  He opted for a bench trial before Circuit Judge Thomas E. Griffith. Cheney’s defense filed a motion to dismiss the felony charge on the grounds that it was not proven that force was used.  Judge Griffith dismissed the felony charge, but found Cheney guilty for a misdemeanor battery charge.

The victim was a 27-year old bartender who on December 19, 2015, was working at the Department of Corrections annual Christmas party. She said she walked up to the table where the defendant was sitting when he grabbed her crotch area, over her jeans.

After asking permission from the judge to use profanity, she testified that she told Cheney, “Dude, don’t get yourself knocked the (expletive) out. It’s not OK to touch me.”  She shoved Cheney and backed away.  The victim testified that she reported the incident to the bar’s owner, who is a friend of Cheney’s, and his response was shockingly inappropriate.

The victim decided to stay at work because she needed the job, but only if she would work behind the bar and not wait on tables.

That was not Cheney’s only victim that evening.  Another woman testified that she was at the party and Cheney grabbed her crotch.   That woman was a correctional officer and decided not to notify police or pursue criminal charges.

The incident happened in December 2015, but Cheney was not arrested until August 2016.  It took surveillance video showing the victim pushing Cheney away for the case to get as far as it did. Cheney was suspended without pay.

Now we get into the elements to prove felony criminal sexual assault.  Judge Griffith said that case law indicated that force had to be used separate from the “force inherent in the act itself.”   The state would have to prove that the act was “by force or threat of force and it was an act of sexual conduct for sexual gratification or sexual arousal.”

Prosecutors argued that “the act itself was force. In order to disengage she had to push him away.” The victim is 5 feet, 3 inches tall, weighing 121 pounds, while Cheney is 5 feet, 10 inches tall, and at the time of the incident, 200 pounds. The prosecutor said there was no reason to grab a woman in that way other than for sexual arousal of gratification.

I would like for all women, and particularly women in the State of Illinois where this happened, to pay close attention to Judge Griffith’s decision.  A man can walk up to you, or you can walk to the man in performing the duties of your job, and he can touch your private areas violating your body.  The court considers it to be a misdemeanor because the man did not first attempt to restrain you.

On June 1, 2017, Cheney was sentenced to 24 months of probation; to perform 100 hours of community service, and to write a letter of apology to the victim.  Cheney was also ordered to pay $25 a month probation services plus court costs; to continue alcohol and mental health counseling, to have no contact with the victim, and that he can possess a gun solely for employment purposes.

There are no published reports in media about Cheney’s sentencing.  I went to the Macon County case records site to obtain the information.

Reference:  The Herald-Review

Posted on 03/19/2018, in Cases and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 18 Comments.

  1. The Militant Negro

    Reblogged this on The Militant Negro™.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Two sides to a story

    Love the precedent for the illegitimate president!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Whew, unfortunately this does not surprise me at all. I am going to reblog this article for you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s is troubling that uninvited touching on a woman’s most private areas is not considered a felony unless the man uses force, and “force” is defined by the men in the black robes.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. “…he can possess a gun solely for employment purposes.” Great. He is not permitted to go on a shooting rampage.

    Liked by 2 people

    • crustyolemothman

      As I read the article that leaped out at me as well! This man is convicted of a serious misdemeanor yet the judge allows him to continue to possess a gun? IMO this man poses a serious threat to society in general and for him to legally carry a gun is absurd at best! This is yet more proof of the power of the NRA, white privilege and abuse of power by the law enforcement community. While perhaps the intent of the judge was to have him leave the weapon at the prison where he works, I suspect that is not what is actually happening. Next question is who is there to protect the prisoners and other employees from this criminal who holds a position of authority within the criminal justice system?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Mothman,
        Re:

        “Next question is who is there to protect the prisoners and other employees from this criminal who holds a position of authority within the criminal justice system?”

        You hit the proverbial nail on the head. Cheney has demonstrated lacking respect for women. For him to work in a women’s prison begs to question how he is treating them. He has the authority to do whatever he wants.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. yahtzeebutterfly

    From Xena’s post:

    “That was not Cheney’s only victim that evening. Another woman testified that she was at the party and Cheney grabbed her crotch. That woman was a correctional officer and decided not to notify police or pursue criminal charges.”

    One has to ask why that woman correctional officer “decided not to notify police or pursue criminal charges.”

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yahtzee,
      There are many reasons that can be speculated. That woman had the same employer. She might have wanted to keep her job, being afraid of retribution if she officially complained. She might not have wanted to cross the blue line. The man who owned the bar where the party was is Cheney’s friend. So, there might have been the thought that nothing would be done. There’s also the possibility that she considered that discouraging that type of behavior was to show no reaction to it. Only she knows.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. THAT’S SICK! This happened in my home state, and I didn’t even know about this story. That proves how biased the media can be. I guarantee you if that cop was a minority, then this would be national news played over a 24/7 time loop. Double standards, much?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ospreyshire,
      I too live in Illinois. The incident happened in Decatur and I could only find that the local newspaper covered it, but did not cover the sentencing phase. When I clicked on the reporter’s Twitter icon to ask him about the sentencing, that account had been deactivated.

      The comparison with this case and the president saying he can grab women by the pu**y should have made the case go viral, in my opinion.

      Liked by 2 people

      • I didn’t realize that you’re from Illinois, too. Nice! Haha!

        Okay, now back to being serious here. That doesn’t surprise me how the coverage would only be limited to the Decatur area. Whenever you have Crimes like that given the perpetrators involved, they always limit the circulation of the news. Of course they would deactivate it. People are getting smart to how the media responds to situations like that.

        Oh, that makes sense in addition the the whole #MeToo situation.

        Like

        • Osprey,
          There was a time when I blogged about cases when there is an indictment and charge. I tend to wait now until trial is held. That’s because in most of the cases, news about pre-trial matters is limited to local newspapers and I have to put time aside to look to see if anything has been reported.

          Liked by 1 person

  7. ‘was suspended without pay’. So that means he’s back at work. What he did was sexually assault her and that should have been the charge.

    Like

    • Mindyme,
      His attorney state that he hoped to get his job back. In my opinion, he should not have any job that gives him authority. He has already demonstrated disrespecting women and abusing that authority.

      Like

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