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State prison official fired from DCFS for ‘lewd’ and ‘highly sexualized’ emails

Xadrian McCraven

Xadrian McCraven

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Updated: January 11, 2014 6:30AM

A $110,000-a-year Illinois prison official with a lengthy criminal history returned to the state payroll despite “writing and responding to hundreds of lewd and inappropriate emails” on the taxpayers’ dime and “falsifying” his application for a previous state job, records show.

Xadrian R. McCraven’s “state email account revealed hundreds of non-work-related emails that included highly sexualized content; were demeaning towards women; were related to a personal romance or relationship; or were regarding miscellaneous personal business,” state inspectors wrote in explaining McCraven’s firing last year from the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services.

McCraven, 44, of Chicago, sued DCFS to get his job back last year. But U.S. District Judge John W. Darrah rejected his claims in March, records show.

Still, Gov. Pat Quinn’s administration struck a settlement with McCraven and his union, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.

McCraven could have amended his lawsuit but instead withdrew the suit shortly after Darrah’s ruling. In June, he then dropped a union grievance and accepted a 10-day suspension, got six months of back pay and was transferred to the job he now holds as senior adviser to the chief of parole with the Illinois Department of Corrections.

Asked to explain why McCraven was allowed to stay on the state payroll, the Quinn administration cited the potential financial costs of losing a grievance case.

“The lawsuit and the grievance are entirely separate processes. The lawsuit was dismissed [on technical grounds] without addressing the underlying facts of the case,” said Mike Claffey, a Quinn spokesman.

The Chicago Sun-Times reported Monday that McCraven is working for the state prison system despite being arrested “at least” 24 times on charges including arson, illegal gun possession, attempted robbery, drug possession and aggravated assault.

A federal judge summarized McCraven’s criminal history in a 2000 ruling that dismissed a lawsuit he’d brought against the Chicago Police Department for rejecting his application to become a cop. McCraven had argued his criminal record had been expunged, so his arrests shouldn’t count against him.

But U.S. Magistrate Judge Arlander Keys wrote that the department’s background investigation found McCraven had been known “to be a drug dealer, gang member and supplier of guns to other gang members.” Keys ruled the department did nothing wrong.

McCraven’s June 2012 lawsuit against DCFS included no information about the alleged “misconduct” that led to his firing. But the allegations are summarized in a report from the DCFS inspector general’s office that the Sun-Times reviewed Monday.

McCraven is not named in the report, but details within it make clear he is the employee who was “using his assigned DCFS computer and state email account for personal and inappropriate purposes.” He did not return telephone and email messages seeking comment.

McCraven “used DCFS documents, email and his official position for his personal benefit, and he frequently spent time during the day writing and responding to hundreds of lewd and inappropriate emails,” DCFS Inspector General Denise Kane wrote, adding that McCraven falsified his employment application by claiming he was a licensed social worker when, in fact, he wasn’t.

Kane also accused McCraven of “abuse of authority,” saying he “used DCFS letterhead to issue a personal letter to the private employer of his daughter’s mother, which made it appear that the Department was requesting the woman’s presence in Illinois.”

Additionally, McCraven “used DCFS resources to help a friend engaged in a custody battle,” Kane wrote.

McCraven has made $1,500 in political contributions over the past decade, including $500 to former Gov. Rod Blagojevich in 2003. That’s the same year McCraven’s name appeared in a once-secret database of thousands of politically connected candidates for jobs, transfers or promotions kept by Blagojevich’s administration, records show.

McCraven ended up getting transferred from his job as a DCFS child-protection worker to become executive assistant to then-Illinois Department of Professional Regulation Director Fernando E. Grillo. In that role, McCraven said he managed “daily operations” of the agency, was Grillo’s “confidential advisor” and created “detailed reports on agency operations,” according to his resume.

McCraven left state government in 2004 but returned to DCFS in 2007 as a public service administrator.

Contributing: Dave McKinney

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