Delaney denies bartender's claim that he tried to kiss her

News-DemocratJune 18, 2014 

St. Clair County Clerk Bob Delaney in a BND file photo taken the day he announced his resignation.

TIM VIZER — tvizer@bnd.com

— Robert Delaney, whose tearful resignation a year ago as St. Clair County clerk followed allegations by female employees of repeated sexual harassment, was investigated in May after a bartender complained he grabbed her and tried to kiss her.

Delaney denies the woman's allegation. And no charges will be filed by the O'Fallon police because of a "lack of witnesses and evidence and conflicting statements," according to a police report.

The 55-year-old, longtime Democrat was accused May 3 by a female employee of Knights of Columbus Council 592's clubroom hall on Old Collinsville Road. The call to the O'Fallon Police Department came in just after noon as a complaint of "sexual assault" but was investigated as disorderly conduct.

In May, the county agreed to pay five female employees various portions of $665,000 as part of an agreement that none would sue the county over allegations that Delaney sexually harassed them by kissing them, touching them inappropriately or suggesting sexual relations. He also was accused of using language derogatory toward women and racially discriminating against minority employees.

Delaney, who has denied all wrongdoing, declined Monday to comment concerning the misdemeanor complaint signed by the woman at the Knights of Columbus hall.

The woman, who was not identified in the police report, said Delaney walked in just after the bar opened at noon, asked if she was alone, and told her that he had heard she was "the prettiest girl in the world and I have come to meet you."

The woman, who said she did not know Delaney by name, described this scenario to police:

"I was sitting on the far, right side of the bar (when) a man walked in wearing a white short-sleeve shirt, shorts and a ball cap ... He walks in and asks if I am alone. I say, 'Yes, you're my first customer of the day. What can I get you?'"

Then, according to the report, the woman said, "He puts his hand on my left shoulder, rubs my shoulder, puts a bit more pressure on my arm, turns my chair and tries to kiss me. I push him away, saying 'No! No!' He walks quickly out the door and drives away."

The woman correctly wrote down the license plate number of the car Delaney was driving, which is registered to another owner.

Delaney wasn't identified until four days later, when he returned to the bar to pick up a food order.

Fifteen days later, on May 22, an investigator contacted Delaney by telephone and asked him to come into the police station to be questioned.

Delaney gave this account:

Earlier, on March 22, at the Knights of Columbus bar, he met the same woman and talked to her for about 10 minutes, during which he bought her two glasses of beer.

"At that point she thanked me for the beers and said come back and see her on Saturday afternoon," Delaney said, according to the police report.

Instead of Saturday, Delaney showed up on a Monday and found the woman sitting on a stool and eating lunch.

According to Delaney's statement to police, he asked her, "Are you all alone?" When she replied that she was, he tried to give her a hug.

"She looked startled and at that point I said, 'Don't you remember me?' and told her my name ... the only physical contact I made was to put my hand on her shoulder when I went to hug her. At that time she pulled away and no hug was given," Delaney told police.

Knights of Columbus Council 592 president Bill Gerngross could not be reached

Contact reporter George Pawlaczyk at gpawlaczyk@bnd.com and 618-239-2625.

Contact reporter Beth Hundsdorfer at bhundsdorfer@bnd.com and 618-239-2570.