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SPRINGFIELD (Illinois News Network) — A former aide to House Speaker Michael Madigan shot back at the woman who accused him of sexual harassment earlier this year while downplaying her allegations.
Madigan hasn’t been accused of harassment, but both his legislative and political offices have been hit as women have come forward. Most recently, Tim Mapes was fired from several positions, including his roles as Madigan’s chief of staff and clerk of the House. Mapes was ousted after allegations of inappropriate behavior. Before that one of Madigan’s top lieutenants, state Rep. Lou Lang (D-Skokie) gave up his leadership positions after claims of harassment and intimidation. In February, two political operatives left Madigan’s operations within the same week following allegations of wrongdoing.
One of the operatives who left in February was Kevin Quinn. Quinn recently released a 14-page document detailing his account of the events leading to his resignation. In it, Quinn acknowledged his poor behavior toward campaign worker Alaina Hampton, but said his repeated propositions didn’t constitute harassment.
Quinn downplayed Hampton’s allegations in the document.
“It was never my intent to make Ms. Alaina Hampton feel uncomfortable,” Quinn said. “I take responsibility for sending the text messages (Hampton) has publicly released between us and apologize for my attempts to get to know her outside of necessary interactions.
“I believe the media has jumped to conclusions regarding Alaina Hampton’s accounts,” Quinn said. “Based on the amount of misinformation that has been reported, I feel it is important to see that the truth is made public.”
Hampton’s attorney Shelly Kulwin said he had seen the document and planned to review it with Hampton.
“We can say that it reads like a legal brief written by attorneys to make the litigation defendants’ case,” Kulwin said in a statement.
A spokesman said Madigan wasn’t involved in drafting the document.
“To our knowledge, no one within the Speaker’s government or political offices had any involvement with Kevin Quinn in preparing this document,” Madigan spokesman Steve Brown said.
State Rep. Kelly Cassidy, who has claimed Madigan allies attempted to intimidate her for speaking out about Madigan’s handling of Hampton’s case, condemned the document as a tired, old tactic.
“It’s despicable but it also is pathetic,” said Cassidy (D-Chicago). “Fundamentally these tactics are designed to discourage others from coming forward and they can have that effect and I hope it’s not a successful tactic.”
“We have to break this habit of jumping to attempt to tear people down when they develop the strength to come forward,” Cassidy said. “There were allegations in this that had nothing to do with what (Hampton) has charged (Quinn) with. He’s just trying to dirty ger up and it’s just wrong.”
“We anticipate that the full ‘truth’ will come out once, in addition to Ms. Hampton’s texts, we are able to review the defendants’ internal communications on this issue as well other relevant discovery we obtain during the case,” Kulwin said.
While Brown deferred addressing whether Madigan will cooperate with the discovery request, he said Madigan will comply with “independent investigations into complaints and [push for] significant structural and operational changes to his government and political offices.”
Earlier this month Madigan’s team pushed to have Hampton’s case dismissed.
Instead of trying to get a case dismissed, Cassidy said Madigan’s team should cooperate with a federal lawsuit.
Hampton’s attorneys are responding to the motion to dismiss and said the factual discovery process is beginning.
“I think the case does need to continue so that we can get to the bottom of this and get a glimpse of what we need to be doing differently,” Cassidy said.
Written by Greg Bishop. Bishop reports on Illinois government and other statewide issues for the Illinois News Network. Bishop has years of award winning broadcast experience, and previously hosted “The Council Roundup,” as well as “Bishop On Air,” a morning-drive current events talk show.