Pekin City Council members censure one of their own after sexual harassment
PEKIN (25 NEWS) - The Pekin City Council has publicly censured longtime city council member Lloyd Orrick after the city’s ethics committee found Orrick sexually harassed a councilwoman.
The council took the action on councilwoman Karen Hohimer’s claims during a special session Wednesday night. Orrick and Rick Hilst were the only council members voting against the censure, although Orrick did offer a public apology.
Hohimer said Orrick bullied and sexually harassed her at least six different times, to where she asked to switch seats.
“I asked you to stop. I turned away from you. I spoke to other people, I walked away from you,” said Hohimer.
The three-person ethics committee found Orrick made multiple remarks to Hohimer about her appearance between May and October of last year.
“That’s hard for me to wrap my head around that and not have a complaint filed until November,” said Hilst.
In one instance, Orrick told Hohimer, “I see you wore a dress for me tonight,” and poked her thigh.
Another instance, he asked her if her tan went, “All the way down...” Councilmember John Abel backed all of that up as witness.
“You did not stop and I don’t care what your family or any of your friends have to say, you know what you said,” said Hohimer.
The meeting lasted an hour and Orrick did apologize.
“I never intentionally meant to embarrass or make anyone feel disrespected,” said Orrick.
Orrick keeps his seat on the council, but loses his post as Pekin’s mayor pro tem. The council chose Becky Cloyd to fill the mayor pro-tem’s position and John Abel moves up to become alternate mayor pro tem.
“I don’t think council member Orrick should be censored on this in any way shape or form,” said Hilst.
The council also backed the ethics commission’s recommendation that Orrick pay a $500 fine, but the money can be donated to a non-for-profit organization.
“We will continue to move forward. We will continue to make adjustments as we travel on new ground to make things better,” said Mayor Mark Luft.
This story will be updated.
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