Story at Chicago Tribune
|Tony DeBois, a former deputy chief with Markham police, leaves federal court in downtown Chicago in March. He was charged with violating a detainee's civil rights through aggravated sexual abuse. (Chris Sweda, Chicago Tribune / March 7, 2013)|
By Jason Meisner
11:54 AM CDT, September 5, 2013
The former deputy police chief of Markham pleaded guilty today to lying to the FBI about sexual encounters he had in his city office, but he continued to dispute that he coerced a woman who was in custody into having sex with him.
The unusual plea deal sets up what promises to be a salacious sentencing hearing for Tony DeBois in January in federal court in Chicago.
DeBois’ lawyers say they intend to argue that the woman who maintained that DeBois coerced her into sex in his office lied to a grand jury investigating allegations of corruption in the south suburban department.
“We absolutely dispute that he had sex with a prisoner,” said DeBois’ attorney, Terry Ekl.
DeBois, 41, was charged in March with violating a detainee’s civil rights through aggravated sexual abuse. Prosecutors alleged in court documents filed after his arrest that DeBois pocketed $4,500 in counterfeit cash seized from a target of in investigation, then coerced the man’s female associate, who was also in custody, into having sex in his office.
In his plea agreement, DeBois admitted only to one count that he lied in an October 2012 interview with FBI agents when he said the only woman he’d had sex with in his office was his wife.
DeBois admitted Thursday that he had consensual sex in his office with another woman, but he denied it was the woman that prosecutors claim.
He faces up to 5 years in prison but could also receive probation.
The original charges against DeBois of violating a detainee’s civil rights will be dropped, Assistant U.S. Attorney April Perry said.
Debois declined to comment as he left the Dirksen U.S. Courthouse following his guilty plea.
After court, Ekl said it was the first time in his lengthy career he had seen prosecutors agree to a plea deal when there was still a dispute about the facts of the case.
“It was an extremely weak case,” Ekl said. “They did this because they couldn’t prove the (civil rights) allegation in court.”
A longtime controversial cop in crime-ridden Markham, DeBois had political connections that allowed him to make a rapid rise from patrol to deputy chief even as he became a magnet for civil lawsuits.