A federal jury on Friday awarded $300,000 to the woman who claimed in a lawsuit she was stalked, harassed and threatened by former Rock Island County Sheriff Jeff Boyd while he was still in office.
The jury said Boyd must pay $75,000 for emotional distress and $225,000 in punitive damages to Andrea Favela, the woman who made the accusation.
Rock Island County and the Rock Island County Sheriff’s Office are not responsible for any of the monies awarded.
Telephone and Facebook messages to Boyd for comment had not been returned by publication Wednesday night.
The verdict came after about a weeklong trial in U.S. District Court, Peoria.
According to the lawsuit Favela filed March 13, 2015, she met Boyd at DePaepe’s Gym in Rock Island.
From about June or July of 2013, Boyd texted Favela frequently and gave her gifts, including flowers and jewelry on Valentine’s Day in 2014.
At the time Favela was an undocumented immigrant from Mexico without a driver’s license. Favela had applied for a Green Card and was awaiting a decision.
Boyd told Favela he could send her to jail for driving without a valid license. He also told her could help her with her immigration status and tried to persuade her to meet with him in person to discuss the application process.
On March 5 or 6, 2014, Favela went to DePaepe’s Gym and when Boyd saw her he flipped her the middle finger. On or about March 11, 2014, she received a fruit basket with no card.
During that period Boyd texted and called Favela. She later changed her cell phone number.
On March 15, Boyd parked outside Favela’s home in an undercover sheriff’s vehicle. When she left for work he turned on his emergency lights. When Favela stopped he spoke to her through the window. He told her the next time he stopped her she would go to jail for driving without a license.
On March 22, Favela saw Boyd parked outside her home and had her sister drive her to work.
On March 24, Favela received another fruit basket with a note that said, “Keep doing the right thing, proud of you.”
Favela canceled her membership to DePaepe’s Gym. Boyd asked for and received Favela’s new cellphone number from an employee of the gym.
Boyd continued to try to get Favela to agree to meet with him in person.
On April 4, he texted Favela, “Final thing figure out your ticket with me or it will be a warrant with everything I have documented in the last 18 months.”
On April 4, Boyd sent a deputy to Favela’s place of work to give her a ticket for driving without a license. Favela did not accept the ticket and did not sign it.
On April 11, Favela made a complaint with the Moline Police Department saying that Boyd had been stalking and harassing her and threatening to send her to jail. A Whiteside County Circuit Judge ordered a tracking device placed on Boyd’s 2012 Dodge Durango.
Boyd was eventually charged in Rock Island County Circuit Court with cyberstalking, a Class A misdemeanor under Illinois law.
On Sept. 11, 2014, Boyd entered an Alford Plea to the charge. In an Alford plea, a defendant does not admit guilt but agrees the prosecution could prove the charge.
Boyd was sentenced to a year on probation and resigned as sheriff.
Boyd has maintained his innocence and in past stories has said: "I made a conscious decision to resign," he said. "When I stepped down, I did it for two reasons: My wife and family, and I didn't believe the sheriff's department deserved to go through that."
He said in those stories that the process "created a victim."
Boyd has said, "I've never lied about anything. I've always told the truth, and I didn't do anything illegal."