CHICAGO (CBS) — Smith Maintenance, the company that employed David Garcia-Espinal, the man who admitted to hiding a camera in a girls bathroom, is being sued by people who said the company knew of his criminal background but still placed him at Sunset Ridge School.
Even though David Garcia-Espinal, signed a statement admitting what he did, those charges were not formally filed by the Cook County State’s Attorney. He was charged with one felony count of possession of fraudulent identification.
Each of the 13 plaintiffs are listed as a “Jane Doe” and were staff members at Sunset Ridge.
Garcia-Espinal has been wanted on a warrant since mid-January on charges that he secretly recorded both staff and students in bathrooms at the school.
According to the lawsuit, Garcia-Espinal was a custodian at Sunset Ridge for about three to four years before January 2020. Either before or on January 14, a cellphone was found attached to a trash can and found to be recording women using the staff bathroom in the school.
As part of its contract with the school, it was supposed to reveal that its employees received criminal background checks and that information would be kept on file.
When Garcia-Espinal was arrested in June 2012, the officer found three different Social Security cards, three different permanent resident cards and two different resident alien cards.
Glenview Police tell CBS 2 that their records show they charged Garca-Espinal with a misdemeanor for public indecency. A spokeswoman for current state’s attorney Kim Foxx said her office could not comment on decisions made by previous state’s attorneys.
Garcia-Espinal pleaded guilty to identity fraud in 2012 and was sentenced to probation, and was fined for violating his probation in 2013.
“At all relevant times, Defendant Smith (Maintenance) allowed Garcia-Espinal to work at a Sunset Ridge for several years,” according to the lawsuit. “Smith (Maintenance) knew or should have known that Garcia-Espinal had a particular unfitness for the position of elementary school custodian.”
The suit argues that because of the company’s “actions or omissions, the plaintiffs have suffered severe and personal injuries and will continue to suffer great mental anguish, humiliation and loss of a normal life” as a result of Garcia-Espinal’s employment at the school.
Police have tried to find Garcia-Espinal, 40, since they checked out the phone – but he has disappeared.
A person who answered the phone at Smith Maintenance said a manager wasn’t available to answer questions about the lawsuit.