Lavelle Redmond: Illinois village hires sex offender who raped 2 girls, sparks fury

Mayor sparks outrage over hiring man who spent 24 years in prison for role that requires him to enter homes, hits back with 'second chances' argument


                            Lavelle Redmond: Illinois village hires sex offender who raped 2 girls, sparks fury
Lavelle Redmond (Illinois State Police child sex offender registry) and Mayor Tiffany Henyard (Tiffany Henyard/Facebook)

A Mayor of a small Illinois village has sparked a major firestorm after hiring a registered sex offender for a municipal job. Lavelle Redmond, who spent 24 years in prison for the brutal rape of two teenage girls, has been offered the role of a code enforcement officer in the village of Dolton, Illinois. The community of 23,000 is appalled at the announcement and has hit back at the Mayor, who happens to be the first female Mayor of Dolton.

Mayor Tiffany Henyard is just the latest in a long line of civic leaders to spark controversy. In February 2020, Spanish Fort Mayor Michael McMillan was arrested for slapping a city employee. Nikuyah Walker, the Mayor of Charlottesville also landed in hot trouble for a Facebook post slamming her own town in March 2021. Then in September 2021, San Francisco mayor London Breed was caught partying without a mask, a violation of her own mask mandate. 

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But perhaps few have managed to cause such controversy over their personnel as Henyard has. The Donton community has attempted to push back at Redmond's hiring, but the Mayor has only dug in deeper, defending her decision. It isn't the first time she's hired Redmond, but now the community is extremely concerned given his role involves going into people's homes. It all stems from his brutal rape of two teens in 1991.

Tiffany Henyard, the current Mayor of Dolton, Illinois. (Tiffany Hanyard/Facebook)

Who is Lavelle Redmond?

Little is known about Redmond before his arrest and sentencing. In 1991, the now-46-year-old took part in a brutal gang rape of two girls who were 13 and 14 years old. He and three others kidnapped the two teens and then sexually assaulted them in the Roseland neighborhood of Chicago. The then-16-year-old was sentenced to 50 years in prison on two counts of aggravated criminal sexual assault with a weapon.

In 2016, Redmond was paroled out after 24 years. He was required to register as a sex offender and is currently listed on the Illinois State Police child sex offender registry. The registry notes he is currently homeless in Chicago. It's unclear what Redmond did in the preceding years. In early 2021, he was spotted on Henyard's campaign trail and even snapped in several photos with her. Eventually, the Democratic candidate was elected in April with 82% of the vote.

Then in September, Henyard hired Redmond as Dolton's code enforcement officer, a role that draws an annual salary of more than $31,200. The hiring instantly caught the attention of local media, but Henyard brushed it off calling his record "childhood background over 30 years ago." Nonetheless, the pressure continued, but the Mayor refused to back down. "...They paid their debt to society. We believe that a person can be rehabilitated, and we believe in second chances," she said more recently

'I'll be terrified'

The reason Redmond's hiring is sparking such controversy is that his job will entail entering homes and businesses, to ensure they are up to code. The 2010 census notes that 32.2% of homes had a female householder with no husband present. Given his record, fear exists in the community he may revert back. "I will be terrified to know now if he had come to my house to do a code inspection. I'll be terrified," one resident told Fox 32. Another said, "Crazy. I don't know. He won't get in my house though."

"Don't they supposed to do background checks before they allow these people to these kinds of positions?" a third asked. The hiring of Redmond isn't the only one sparking controversy in Dolton. In May 2021, Henyard hired former Cook County Circuit Court Clerk Dorothy Brown as Village Administrator. Residents were worried about Brown's scandal-hit tenure in the circuit court, with prompted several federal investigations. 

As with Redmond, Brown's hiring was defended by the Mayor, initially arguing that it was "temporary". But as one trustee said, "We are five months into this administration, the position still has not been posted, no applications have been taken. I feel like I’ve been lied to about the transition of Dorothy Brown." Since the complaints into Redmond, the Mayor's office confirmed an investigation was underway but did not say if he was still on the payroll in the meantime. The office also said it would make no further comment till the investigation was complete. 

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