Dominoes Continue to Fall, Lack of Accountability Persists in Illinois’ Culture of Sexual Harassment


Speaker Madigan’s Chief of Staff and House Clerk Timothy Mapes resigned on Wednesday after a House employee came forward with specific allegations of bullying and harassment in the workplace. This development is only the latest in a string of public exposures of the pervasive culture of sexual harassment and intimidation that exists in the Illinois Capitol; and the shocking lack of accountability that permits it to continue. 

Denise Rotheimer, Alaina Hampton, Kelly Cassidy, Maryann Loncar, and now Sherri Garrett come forward after 300 women signed a #MeToo letter last Fall....and the only thing leadership in Springfield does is mandate sexual harassment training as a solution. It’s a farce.

There is a culture problem that leadership is not addressing. There is a power problem when you can't trust the politicians to oversee the complaints. There is a fairness problem when as a complainant you have no rights when you file a complaint. I have no doubt Speaker Madigan knew this was going on. Tim Mapes, his top aide, has resigned. Madigan should be forced out by his members who keep him in power.


Here is a brief timeline of how events have unfolded in recent months–

October 2017 – Victims’ advocate Denise Rotheimer comes out publicly accusing State Senator Ira Silverstein, D-Chicago, of sexual harassment.

November 2017 – Former assistant U.S. Attorney Julie Porter is appointed to the vacant post of Legislative Inspector General (LIG), the office responsible for investigating allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct within Illinois’ legislative branch. The office of LIG had been left vacant for nearly two years, with 27 outstanding complaints on file languishing with no one to investigate them.

November 2017 – The Illinois General Assembly swiftly passes legislation aimed at prohibiting sexual harassment by requiring all legislators and staff to attend annual sexual harassment “training”.  

January 2018 – The Legislative Inspector General’s report clears Senator Silverstein of sexual harassment, but declared his “conduct unbecoming of a legislator”.

February 2018 – State Rep. Jeanne Ives, R-Wheaton, files legislation (HB 4840) that would protect the rights of complainants who come forward to report allegations against state officials and/or employees.

February 2018 – Former Madigan aide Alaina Hampton goes public with allegations of sexual harassment against top Madigan political aide Kevin Quinn, brother of powerful 13th Ward Chicago Alderman and close Madigan ally Marty Quinn.

March 2018 – Voters soundly defeat Senator Ira Silverstein in his primary race for re-election to the State Senate.

April 2018 – The House Executive Committee votes not to pass HB 4840, Rep. Jeanne Ives’ bill to protect the rights of complainants.

May 2018 – Deputy House Majority Leader Lou Lang, D-Skokie, is accused of harassment by Maryann Loncar and steps down from his leadership position, yet remains a member of the Illinois House.

June 2018 – Madigan Chief of Staff Timothy Mapes, who also serves as Clerk as the House of Representatives and leadership roles within the Democratic Party of Illinois and Speaker Madigan’s other political committees, resigns from all positions after he is accused of harassment and bullying by a House employee.

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At a minimum, the General Assembly should give complainants rights like those contained in HB 4840. I wrote about this bill and its importance toward helping change the culture of sexual harassment. Please click HERE to read about how it would provide rights to those who come forward with complaints.

There is also a noticeable amount of hypocrisy in the House Democrats sponsoring and passing the ERA amendment at the end of May, at the same time they demonstrate little respect for women in the workplace. The silence of the women Democrat legislators who voted for ERA in the wake of Speaker Madigan's culture of sexual harassment says everything you need to know about the power structure in this state's political ruling class.

I spoke during the recent debate on the ERA about the need for men to step up and lead by example. We cannot change the culture of sexual harassment in Illinois government simply by passing more laws; or by women at the Capitol wearing black in solidarity on one day of House session. Words and symbolic gestures achieve nothing. We need men and women of character to change the culture through their actions.

You can watch the video clip of my remarks by clicking this link:  West Point Grad Ives Speaks Candidly About Equality for Women

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