ILLINOIS (WCIA) — A longtime Madigan staffer is breaking her silence and turning the Capitol on its head. She’s the latest in a series of women speaking out about sexual harassment and bullying.
Arguably one of House Speaker Michael Madigan’s most loyal men, Tim Mapes, his chief of staff, stands at the center of the accusations.
He just announced he’s stepping down from all his leadership roles. It looks like the floodgates have opened. This is the second woman inside a week, but for some, it’s no surprise.
This fall, 300 women in the Capitol signed an open letter stating they are victims of this very behavior. Wednesday, Sherri Garrett became the latest face; the second one inside a week.
She describes her work environment as behavior seen in a locker room. The details she shared at the press conference were jarring.
Garrett shared several stories describing blatant accounts of sexual harassment and bullying she both endured and witnessed while working under Mapes.
Mapes is not just Madigan’s chief of staff. He’s also the clerk of the House and executive director of the Democratic Party of Illinois.
Garrett says, despite her loyalty, she couldn’t remain silent. She made clear she’s doing this, jot just for herself, but for those too afraid to speak.
Speaker Madigan says he was not aware of Garrett’s complaints against Mpaes, but took action against former state representative Ken Dunkin. Garrett recalled crude comments Dunkin made to female staff in 2013.
Rauner later appointed Dunkin to head the Water Recreation Department. Rauner is now calling for him to be fired.
JB Pritzker is also weighing in this week. The billionaire donated $1 million to the Democratic party Mapes heads. He’s now also calling for Mapes to be suspended without pay. After an investigation, he says Mapes should be fired.
Garrett plans to file a complaint detailing her harassment with the legislative inspector general. She says lawmakers made steps forward, but says they don’t go nearly far enough. She thinks instead, there needs to be a human resources team in the Capitol.