CHICAGO (CBS) — House Speaker Mike Madigan is speaking out after allegations surfaced of sex harassment in his office.
This is a development that took everyone by surprise. Madigan revealed Tuesday his office has investigated at least nine claims of sexual harassment from legislative staffers over the past five years.
Madigan says he made the disclosure about past harassment claims, and how they were resolved, in the spirit of transparency.
“If you read through how these were processed, you can see that at the leadership level, we don’t tolerate inappropriate behavior,” he said.
All of the claims involved came from state legislative staffers and were made against other staffers, legislators or lobbyists. The accusations include discrimination, intimidation, inappropriate comments, unwarranted advances and unwanted physical contact.
“What it says is that our office has been available for those that wish to file complaints. We’re going to continue to work with all interested parties to move forward a change in culture ” Madigan said.
These revelations come in the wake of the firing of two Madigan political operatives — Kevin Quinn and Shaw Decremer — over allegations of inappropriate conduct. Tuesday’s announcement dealt with state employees, not those on Madigan’s political team.
And Madigan points to a panel he’s appointed of Democratic women lawmakers to investigate and reform the culture of harassment.
“I created a three-person panel to conduct a state-wide conversation as to how we can change the statute,” Madigan said.
The list doesn’t name names of the accusers or the accused. How were the complaints resolved? In a variety of ways. In some cases, the behavior simply stopped. In others, the accused was monitored by the Ethics Office. And, in one case, the accuser was given a transfer at their own request.