The Cook County State’s Attorney’s Professional Standards Unit (PSU) has decided against charging former Forest Park Police Officer Roberto Salas with sexual assault, according to Illinois State Police spokesperson Master Sergeant Jason Bradley.
“PSU found no conduct by the officer which would give rise to criminal charges,” Bradley wrote in a June 7. “The case is closed.”
Salas, a 20-year veteran of the department, was fired Nov. 30, 2016 after a 47-year-old Forest Park woman accused him of sexual assault. The Illinois State Police Public Integrity Task Force recently submitted its fact-finding investigative report to the Cook County State’s Attorney, which then opted to not pursue a criminal case. Bradley, in a June 7 phone call, did not know when the report was submitted.
Illinois State Police investigate officer-involved shootings and also possible misconduct, as in this case. While Salas will not face criminal charges, fallout from the alleged assault continues.
The 47-year-old woman filed a federal civil suit against Salas and the village in December 2016 alleging sexual assault. The parties are meeting in order to come to a settlement, according to court documents. A status hearing has been set for Aug. 1, according to documents filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.
Attorneys for the 47-year-old woman filed a default judgement motion on March 21, after Salas failed to respond to the lawsuit by a Jan. 20 deadline and a subsequent March 13 deadline extension. In late May 2017, Salas’ attorney, Daniel Herbert, filed an official response after requesting an extension. The village’s attorney filed Forest Park’s official response on May 15.
The alleged assault, the suit claims, occurred Sep. 2, 2016 in the woman’s home while Salas was on duty and in full police uniform.
Forest Park police had previously responded to the woman’s residence for calls of domestic abuse. In late August, according to the suit, the woman got a two-year “protective order” and her husband was allowed to gather his belongings from the couple’s home — under police supervision — on August 30. Salas was one of two officers present that day.
Salas, the suit claims, stayed with the woman as her husband gathered his effects and gave her his business card and “invited her to contact him anytime if she ever needed help with anything, or even if she just needed a cup of coffee.”
The woman texted Salas the next day to “get together with him” and Salas said he would stop by. The next day, the suit says, Salas came by her home, was let inside by the woman and then “proceeded to sexually assault” her before leaving after getting a call on his police radio.
Salas, in his response to the lawsuit, denied sexually assaulting the woman.