A former Cook County prosecutor who was accused of biting a man’s leg during a scuffle at a lingerie store on the city’s North Side is now facing potential attorney discipline over the 2012 incident that led to a handful of criminal charges she was later acquitted of.
The Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission (ARDC) filed a complaint against Sarah A. Naughton, who served as an assistant Cook County state’s attorney from 2010 until her 2013 resignation. Records show the complaint was filed June 23 and Naughton, a 33-year-old Tinley Park lawyer, was served with it on July 8.
Although a judge last year found Naughton not guilty of the charges lodged against her over the incident, the ARDC asserts she violated the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct by committing criminal acts and displaying her credentials in an attempt to skirt arrest.
The recently-filed complaint states Naughton and a male companion, Bradley Gould, were drinking alcoholic beverages at a Chicago Cubs game on Sept. 22, 2012. They continued to drink after they left Wrigley Field at a bar and then restaurant, according to the ARDC.
After they left the restaurant, Naughton and Gould went to an adult merchandise store on Belmont Avenue called “Taboo Tabou,” where the manager, Dinah Pineda, asked them to leave because they allegedly were creating a disturbance by stumbling and talking loud.
Naughton then pulled her badge from her purse and told Pineda “you can’t can do this to me I’m a State’s Attorney,” the commission asserts.
The couple eventually left the store, but about 10 minutes later, the complaint alleges Naughton “opened the door to Taboo Tabou and poked her head through, while yelling ‘bitches’ at Pineda and another employee. At the same time, [Naughton] and Gould were banging on the glass windows of the store while shouting and making obscene gestures.”
Pineda then called Blue Havana, a cigar store next door, to ask for help in getting the couple to leave. She also dialed 911. The complaint notes that when David Boone, an employee from the neighboring store, arrived and asked Naughton and Gould to leave, “they only became more belligerent.”
Naughton allegedly pulled out her state’s attorney’s badge again and then swung at Boone, who tried to walk away. The complaint states Naughton fell during her encounter with Boone, but got up and ran down the street, yelling that she had been assaulted.
At about this same time, the ARDC alleges, Gould started videotaping Boone with his cell phone, which hit Boone in the face. Boone swatted the phone out of Gould’s hand and punched him after Gould allegedly tried to hit him.
The complaint states Gould’s head struck a metal window frame, spurring Naughton to charge Boone. When he fell to the ground, she allegedly bit his leg, causing his skin to break and injury to his knee.
Naughton was pulled off Boone by bystanders and placed in handcuffs when police arrived. The complaint alleges she was put in a police vehicle, where she managed to get out of the handcuffs, and was re-handcuffed and put back in the SUV by a female officer.
The ARDC asserts Naughton told the officer at least six times she was an assistant state’s attorney, called her a whore, among other names, and slapped at her. Naughton allegedly escaped the handcuffs again and tried to make herself vomit in the vehicle before she was removed to the curb, where the complaint states she “proceeded to try to make herself throw up while screaming obscenities.”
A video posted on YouTube on Sept. 22, 2012 purports to show Naughton sitting on the curb, yelling and crying in handcuffs. A caption to the video, which was titled “Drunk State’s Attorney vs. Cop,” identifies the woman in the video as Naughton and states she was arrested after assaulting a store manager on Belmont Avenue.
The video has garnered nearly 65,000 views and remains on YouTube.
Following the incident, Naughton and Gould were arrested. Naughton, according to ARDC, was charged with attempted official misconduct, battery, resisting arrest, criminal trespass to property, assault and disorderly conduct.
Cook County Associate Judge Anthony John Calabrese found the couple not guilty on all charges after an April 5, 2013 bench trial.
In its complaint, the ARDC alleges Naughton violated Rule 8.4(e) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct during the 2012 incident by “stating or implying an ability to influence improperly a government agency or official or to achieve results by means … by displaying her State's Attorney credentials and stating or implying that she could not be arrested and otherwise attempting to obtain personal advantage for herself.”
The commission also claims she violated Rule 8.4(b) by committing the criminal acts she was charged with, but later found not guilty of, in that they reflected “adversely on the lawyer's honesty, trustworthiness, or fitness as a lawyer in other respects.”
Naughton, according to an ARDC spokesman, graduated from The John Marshall Law School in 2008 and has never been the subject of attorney discipline before.
The complaint asks that Naughton’s matter be assigned to the Hearing Board for a hearing and recommendation as to whether discipline is warranted. The Illinois Supreme Court has the final say in most attorney disciplinary matters.