Chicago Park District CEO Mike Kelly resigns amid lifeguard abuse allegations

Chicago Park District CEO Mike Kelly has resigned, the district said on Saturday night.

The Park District has been under scrutiny after revelations about sexual abuse and harassment among lifeguards. After an investigation launched in March 2020 by the Office of Inspector General, at least 42 employees have been disciplined, including two high-level staff members: an assistant Director of Beaches and Pools and a Beaches and Pools manager.

Last week, a park district manager accused of having a relationship with an underage employee. That was after the park district received a written statement from the third-party complainant, verifying claims that included screenshots of text messages which  included reports of inappropriate communications and choking done in a sexual manner.

On Saturday afternoon, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said she attended an emergency meeting of the Chicago Park District Board of Commissioners on Friday at which she urged them to remove General Superintendent and CEO of the Park District, Mike Kelly, "for cause."

In a statement, the mayor said: 

The culture of sexual abuse, harassment, and coercion that has become pervasive within the District’s Aquatics Department lifeguard program under his leadership, combined with the Superintendent’s lack of urgency or accountability as new facts have come to light, is unacceptable. Despite prior claims of new training, new procedures, and new personnel, the failings of the current Park District Administration’s response to new allegations of harm to a child persists and simply cannot be tolerated one day longer.