Let’s discuss Bob Donovan’s 1992 citation for disorderly conduct

To say Milwaukee Alderman Bob Donovan has made a career out of being “tough on crime” would be an understatement. Ald. Donovan has never shied away from attacking Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett and Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn, but Ald. Donovan is no stranger to criminal behavior, as this citation from 1992 demonstrates:

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Here’s a copy of the narrative attached to the citation issued to Donovan, which states in part, “Donovan stated that he had frequented the Mitchell Hall restroom for years for the purpose of either watching men masturbate…”

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Now I understand this is just one incident from way back in 1992 and that people make mistakes, but I can’t help but wonder how Bob Donovan has been able to not only keep the incident largely under wraps while also managing to cultivate a “tough on crime” reputation as an elected official.

What’s more, I can’t help but wonder if the folks from the police union that endorsed Ald. Donovan are aware of his arrest record, and if they’re not, why? It would seem logical that the union representing Milwaukee’s police officers should know that an elected official that union endorsed has a record of criminal behavior, especially if that criminal behavior is as jaw-dropping as Bob Donovan’s.


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23 thoughts on “Let’s discuss Bob Donovan’s 1992 citation for disorderly conduct

  1. I would say “largely under wraps” is not true. This incident is pretty commonly known about in his district.

  2. Here’s the question some of us have that has never been answered.

    Since the citation would have been part of a bound book, how was a bound book put in a typewriter so the citation could be typed?

    Even the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, who initially brought this to light, wrote an editorial saying essentially, ‘Yes, we opposed his election, but the voters spoke and we will accept their choice.’ Since he has been re-elected, we, his current and former constituents who are happy with his service, respectfully request that you please just drop this issue.

  3. As an editor, I have to point out the reporting officer’s last typo. Maybe Donovan had no “warrants,” but clearly he had “wants.” I think viewing the alderman’s leadership record through the lens of repressed urges explains a lot. I hope the 8th District will do a lot better for itself.

  4. Is this really the most valid issue to be discussing regarding Donovan? It happened 20 years ago, before he was ever elected (meaning he survived it in several elections so far), is not news, and I’m not sure that something relating to his sexuality, (as I can tell the incident did not involve children or anything like that), makes him some kind of hard core criminal. It’s not like MPD circa 1992 was probably very gay-friendly, and the LGBT community has had to deal with plenty of attempts historically to criminalize their sexuality. I don’t know what really happened here, it’s possible he was truly out of line. But I don’t care if Donovan is gay or not or whatever, which I suspect was perhaps the real “crime” here according to the officer in the stall (was this a sting to catch gay men in a known hangout?), and I think there are plenty more recent, substantive, and relevant issues for analysis regarding Donovan’s tenure as alderperson.

  5. This all came out and was publicly discussed during his first campaign for alderman, which he won, although it may be news to many of his current constituents. Hardly seems relevant 20 years later.

  6. I know I don’t want to be represented by someone who intentionally violated the privacy of others – and at the age of 35! Certainly old enough to know better and control himself. This is unethical behavior and given the recent news regarding his campaign finances, I would say Donovan continues to think the rules do not apply to him.

  7. Since we are discussing elected officials past crimes can we focus on Sen. Larson next. He is a thief and his little “mistake” happened much more recent as well.

  8. I don’t believe this,

    Are you telling me that Mr. Police Bob Donovan was meeting college age men at UWM for the sole purpose of having sex with them in the university bathroom. Have the Police Unions even checked out his back ground? How can he still be endorsed by police when he is peeping on young men?

    I can’t believe in the City of Milwaukee Police force’s biggest advocate is a pervert.

  9. I have a couple of thoughts. First, being a “peeping Tom” engaging in public masturbation and sexual encounters in the public bathroom of a college has nothing to do with homosexuality. The publication of this article is not to point out Donovan as a closet homosexual. The behavior is a violation of the law and is unethical, whether his targets were men or women. This occurred on June 19th…which is after the completion of the semester. UWM has always hosted numerous summer camps and programs for juveniles. Therefore, I believe he is lucky to have been “busted” by a police officer and not peeping on some unsuspecting child. Second, Is Mitchell Hall at UWM a known spot for illegal activity of this type? Is this a place police would target for a sting? Third, I don’t feel this is well known to voters and constituents. It may have been made public 20 years ago, but I do not think its well-known now. I also wonder if this would have been state charge in 2012, instead of being citation as it was in 1992.
    Mr Donovan has a lot to say about the behavior of certain citizens of our community. I’m curious as to what his remarks and feelings are on this type of crime. And…one last thought, a sexual offense and theft are two different types of crime, completely. I’m not saying any crime is right or acceptable, but the behavior is much different. I do think people deserve clarification from Donovan, especially if they are asking for it.

  10. I didn’t realize Donovan was gay. Which I have no issues with.

    But the repressed homosexuality surely explains a lot of his stuck-in-the-50’s style faux-machismo.

  11. I’m amazed someone could suggest it’s old news for a 36-year-old man to peep on college boys “for years” by his own admission no less and still be elected in my district.

    I’m doubly amazed we would re-elect a racist who published his own press release saying he felt the entire black culture was decaying and further stating that just about all black people live in “staggering illegitimacy.”

    If anyone deserves to be recalled, a sexual deviant whose a racist surely fits the bill. That filth represents us?

  12. I know the police are in the tank for Donovan, who knew Donovan was in the stall for the police?

  13. Really we can all make comments about something from years ago but our own Chief Flynn was unfaithful in his marriage & the city still hired him. Our Presidents committed more crimes than peeking through a hole. We need to look at the bigger picture & if nothing has happened since this if it was even true we need to move past this. This man has done MORE for the city of
    Milwaukee all the years that I have known him than Tom Barrett has done not to mention spend money for ridiculous reasons & spend money for things rather for want is really important. We all know he is the right man to be Major of Milwaukee because of all he stands for. Even our own police force Sheriff Clark are all standing behind him because of what Bob Dononovan stands for.

    1. Rose, what tangible thing has Bob Donovan done to make Milwaukee better/safer, other than issuing press releases?

      Keep in mind that crime in his aldermanic district is actually higher now than it’s been in years.

  14. There is no place on the “narrative” that has Bob Donovan’s name on it, nor anything on the citation itself saying there is an attachment. Seems like anybody could say it is a statement from him, but there is no proof it actually is an official document related to him at all.

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