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Doggy Daycare Owner Appalled After State's Attorney Declines To Prosecute State Inspector Jose Guillen, Who Was Caught On Camera Groping Her

CHICAGO (CBS) -- A state inspector was caught on camera groping a doggy daycare owner in Bucktown, and CBS 2 has learned he won't be facing criminal charges.

The Illinois Department of Agriculture inspector, Jose Guillen, was fired after we first broke the story last summer. Soon afterward, many other accusers came forward.

CBS 2 Investigator Megan Hickey on Thursday dug into why prosecutors are not pursuing a case against Guillen.

"Then he starts putting his hand on my shoulder, on my arm, on my back. I didn't know what to do. I was just like, let it happen and be over," Leah Bindig, Bindig, owner of Aeslin Pup Hub, told us back in July.

It wasn't just Bindig's word against Guillen's – it was all caught on tape. Surveillance video showed Guillen – who was there to perform an inspection at the doggy daycare that Bindig's livelihood depended on – inched closer until they were touching.

Indeed, Guillen was caught on camera repeatedly inspecting more than just doggy daycare owner Leah Bindig's business in 2019. He was seen touching her against her will – her shoulders, back, rear end – and pressing himself up against her while holding the results of her inspection over her.

"He's holding the clipboard as he's hugging me, and it's not signed off that we passed - and I'm like, what do I do? What do I do? Tell him to stop?" Nindig said last year.

What Bindig didn't realize when she talked to us was that she was *not the first.

"He shook my hand, pulled me in, and then the hand went from the middle of my back to the top - and then went down to my rear end," Magda Szymczyk, owner of Gypsy Cats NFP Inc. Feline Sanctuary, told us in July.

Nearly a dozen female business owners came forward to the CBS 2 Investigators with nearly identical stories of sexual harassment.

"I thought he was going to shake my hand - he put his arm out to shake my hand - and he pulled me, he hugged me, and the next thing I knew, there was a hand on my butt," said Bonnie Bloom, owner of Lucky Dog Pet Service.

And at least four of the women went to Chicago Police to report the abuse after our story aired.

"I knew it was wrong, but he had all the power," said "Kate," an animal rescue owner and retired Chicago Police officer. "He controlled whether or not I got the license."

Bindig said the moment they all met at the police station was incredibly emotional.

"We didn't know that there was like other women that it had happened to, and part of me, like, regrets that I didn't come forward sooner - because of the fact that if I had, some women that had happened to afterwards," she said.

Guillen was fired by the Department of Agriculture after our story aired. Meanwhile, prosecutors told Leah's legal team, "It seems pretty cut and dry," said attorney Mindy Schwab.

They were looking at a charge of official misconduct, because the alleged encounters all happened while Guillen was on the clock getting paid by Illinois taxpayers.

"What he's doing is in violation of the law, and that he's doing it in his official capacity on behalf of the state," Schwab said.

But six months later, these victims were told the Cook County State's Attorney's office was "declining to pursue charges."

When Hickey asked why, she was simply told, "No comment."

"So touching my rear end wasn't enough? Saying inappropriate comments wasn't enough?" Bindig said. "I mean, you know, tell me, Kim Foxx, like, at what point, physically - how far would he had to have gone to where you say that's inappropriate?"

Kaethe Morris Hoffer is the executive director at Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation, or CAASE.

"I think that the chances are very good that we can stop this behavior by interrupting it," she said.

Hoffer agrees it's hard to fathom how these complaints do not fall under official misconduct.

"It's very reasonable for victims to interpret a refusal to prosecute him as an expression of minimization of what happened to the women," she said.

Hoffer said it falls in line with their report looking at decades' worth of crime data in which sex crime survivors who reported it to Chicago Police faced "grossly inadequate responses."

"At least a criminal charge would have sent some sort of message that hey, there is something that can happen to you if you're going to behave like this," Schwab said.

As for Guillen, he did not respond to our multiple requests for comment. But he did sit for a video deposition.

In that deposition, Guillen at first claimed he had "nonverbal consent" to touch Bindig because Bindig was smiling at him. He also claimed she made the first move - even though the raw surveillance video shows otherwise.

"Nonverbal consent, it doesn't exist with everybody - just in this instance," Guillen said in the deposition.

But later in the deposition, the explanation completely changed - and he claimed that at one point, he was "falling" and used Leah's rear end to catch his balance.

Attorney: "So were you then falling?"

Guillen: "I was keeping my balance to make sure I didn't fall."

Attorney: "And to keep your balance, you ended up touching her buttocks?"

Guillen: "That's correct."

Attorney: "There was nothing else for you to stop yourself from losing balance?"

Guillen: "No. No."

Bindig says even a disappointing setback like this one won't stop her from speaking out.

"At what point, like, does this stop?" she said. "I mean, some may say it's, you know, it's not as bad as other physical violations, but this is how it starts."

Again, the Cook County State's Attorney's office declined to comment for our story. There is still a pending civil case against Guillen, but the State of Illinois claimed immunity and has been dismissed from the case.

We also reached out to Guillen's attorney for comment on this story. She responded, "No comment."

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