Ex-state inspector indicted on federal charges of groping women at doggy daycares

A former state Department of Agriculture employee has been indicted on federal charges alleging he groped five women during inspections of Chicago-area doggy daycares and then lied under oath about it in a civil lawsuit filed by one of the alleged victims.

Jose Guillen, 41, of Melrose Park, was arrested Wednesday morning on charges of violation of civil rights under color of law and perjury. He appeared by telephone before U.S. Magistrate Judge David Weisman, who ordered him released on a recognizance bond.

Guillen’s attorney, Nicholas Grapsas, said Guillen has left the Department of Agriculture but is about to start a new role with the state Department of Employment Security. Over Grapsas’ objections, Weisman ruled that his new employer should be notified of the charges because they stem from his official duties with the state.

Guillen resigned from the Department of Agriculture last year, according to a department spokeswoman. An Employment Security Department representative did not immediately return calls seeking comment.

Grapsas entered a plea of not guilty to all counts on Guillen’s behalf. Guillen is due back in court Aug. 10.

According to the indictment, Guillen worked as an animal and animal products investigator, assigned to conduct on-site inspections of animal care facilities in Cook County.

The indictment alleged Guillen grabbed and groped five separate victims between 2019 and 2021 while he was on duty and acting under color of law as a state employee.

Last year, Guillen knowingly lied during a sworn deposition in a federal civil lawsuit filed by one of the alleged victims, Leah Bindig, saying he had accidentally touched Bindig’s buttocks during an on-site inspection as he was trying to break a fall.

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“It was accidental,” Guillen said during the deposition, according to a transcript included in the indictment. “I accidentally had my hand, it went like in that direction … I have two left feet so obviously I, I’m a little clumsy.”

He also falsely denied touching other alleged victims in the same deposition, according to the indictment.

WBBM-TV broke the story about the allegations against Guillen last year.

Bindig, who owns Aeslin Pup Hub locations in Bucktown, Noble Square and Ukrainian Village, told CBS that Guillen backed her into a watercooler during an inspection in 2019 and asked to see a photo of her in a bikini.

Surveillance video from the facility allegedly shows the encounter.

“Then he starts putting his hand on my shoulder, on my arm, on my back,” Bindig told the station. “I’m being inspected. I’m not being — we’re not on a date.”

jmeisner@chicagotribune.com

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