2 Crystal Lake firefighters face criminal charges after incident at bar

CRYSTAL LAKE – Two Crystal Lake firefighters are facing assault and battery charges after a citizen's complaint in March led to a criminal investigation that culminated in their arrests almost two months later.

Adam J. Fowles, 41, of Cary, and Timothy R. Kerley, 38, of Crystal Lake, were arrested on May 11 in connection with an off-duty incident that occurred March 15 at Finn McCool's, a bar at 72 N. Williams St. in Crystal Lake, according to Deputy Police Chief Tom Kotlowski and McHenry County court documents.

Fire Chief Paul DeRaedt said both men are on administrative leave without pay as the result of a separate employment investigation the city conducted into the incident, although they have been allowed to work overtime during that time.

In court documents, prosecutors allege Fowles grabbed a woman by the waist and repeatedly thrust his pelvis against her. Fowles was charged with aggravated battery in a public place, according to court records. He has pleaded not guilty. If convicted, he could face two to five years in prison.

Kerley had to be restrained after threatening a man at the bar, according to court documents. Kerley was verbally abusive while being removed from the bar and broke a glass while he was being restrained, according to court documents.

Kerley was charged with aggravated assault and disorderly conduct. He has pleaded not guilty. The most serious charge, aggravated assault, carries a penalty of up to a year in jail and a $2,500 fine.

Both men next will appear in court July 13 before separate judges. Schaumburg-based attorney Konstantinos Markakos is representing both men. Markakos declined to provide specifics but said he believed there was a "misinterpretation of the evidence."

"All I am authorized to say is we persist in the plea of not guilty and the evidence at the end will show that they are not guilty of the crimes they are accused of," Markakos said.

Police would not provide more details on the incident because the cases still are pending in court, Kotlowski said.

DeRaedt declined to specify the length of the two firefighters’ administrative leaves but did say they would be ending soon.

The administrative leave specifies that Fowles and Kerley are not allowed to work their scheduled duty days, which would be one 24-hour period every 72 hours or about 10 shift days a month. However, DeRaedt said Fowles and Kerley had been allowed to work overtime shifts of up to 24 hours on non-duty days at 1½ times their regular hourly pay rate of $37.35 per hour.

“Even though they were allowed to work overtime, there was a loss of pay as a result of the actions the city took (after) the employment investigation,” DeRaedt said.

DeRaedt said no further disciplinary action would be taken against the firefighters, regardless of the outcome of the cases in court.

Employees are allowed to file a complaint with the city through a three-step grievance process as outlined in the city's contract with the Crystal Lake Professional Firefighters Association, which allows employees to file a complaint within designated periods of time to different levels of the city administration, concluding with the city manager. If the grievance is not settled, the union may then refer it to arbitration.

Fowles and Kerley are listed as firefighter/paramedics and are both full-time city employees who earn $92,968 in annual hourly wages, according to the city website's online transparency portal.