Former Madigan employee says House speaker covered up harassment complaint, retaliated against her

CHICAGO, Illinois (Illinois News Network) --  The woman who made sexual harassment allegations against a high-ranking member of House Speaker Mike Madigan's political organization is accusing the speaker of covering it up.

Alaina Hampton was employed with Madigan’s campaign committee and the Democratic Party of Illinois. She was supervised by Kevin Quinn, who has worked with Madigan's political committees and state government office for two decades. Hampton alleges Quinn harassed her throughout the 2016 election cycle through a series of text messages. Hampton says she asked Quinn multiple times to stop making unwanted advances over many months, but he did not.

The text messages, shared with the Chicago Tribune, "detail a relentless series of entreaties" from Quinn asking Hampton to go out with him, the Tribune reported. In one text, he called her "smoking hot."

At a Tuesday news conference in Chicago, Hampton said she filed a complaint about Kevin Quinn's harassment with 13th Ward Chicago Alderman Marty Quinn, Kevin's brother and one of Madigan's top political lieutenants, in February 2017, but nothing was done.

In a statement, Marty Quinn said, “I immediately met with Kevin and told him to stop all communication with Ms. Hampton. I advised him that such behavior would not be tolerated, and that any further communication with Ms. Hampton would result in immediate termination. He was remorseful and acknowledged his poor judgment."

But Kevin Quinn remained employed.

"Distressed by the Democratic Party’s lack of response to her complaint, and the prospect of having to continue to work with Kevin Quinn, she quit her employment with Friends of Michael J. Madigan and the Illinois Democratic Party in April 2017," a statement released by Hampton and her attorneys says.

Hampton said she feels there was a cover up because she sent Madigan a private letter to his home in November 2017 about the issue after not getting any relief through other channels. But no action was taken on Kevin Quinn's employment until Monday, a day after Hampton told the Chicago Tribune her story.

“It doesn’t take three months to read those text messages and know that that behavior was inappropriate,” Hampton said at a Tuesday news conference in Chicago. “It would take all of 20 minutes to know that that was sexual harassment.”

Hampton said she felt Madigan and others covered up her complaint and Kevin Quinn would still be in his job if she hadn't gone to the media. Madigan's Monday news release announcing his termination was "pre-emeptive," she said, because the longtime House speaker knew the Tribune story was about to be published.

"They thought that I was too loyal to ever come forward," she said.

Hampton’s attorney, Shelly Kulwin, said Tuesday that action should have been taken the second Hampton’s allegations became clear.

“At a minimum there should be an investigation by an independent party, usually an outside law firm, to investigate whether there’s any truth,” Kulwin said. “That’s what every credible organization does.”

Before resigning, Hampton said she still had hopes of working with the Democratic Party, and in particular on the House seat being vacated by state Rep. Juliana Stratton, D-Chicago, who is running for lieutenant governor. But Hampton said she was told Democratic resources were not being sent to the seat.

“That same morning I had gotten a text message from a Democratic Party staffer that said a Democratic Party staffer was being sent to that race that very same day,” Hampton said. She said she felt she was being retaliated against for bringing her complaint forward.

Hampton also has filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. After an initial investigation, Hampton and her attorneys said they will seek to file a lawsuit against the Illinois Democratic Party and Friends of Mike Madigan, for whom Hampton worked.

Lorna Brett, former president of the Chicago chapter of the National Organization for Women, is now advocating on Hampton's behalf.

“Madigan simultaneously fast tracked legislation to eradicate sexual harassment in Illinois politics and killed the political career of Alaina Hampton for reporting sexual harassment in his own organization,” Brett said in a news release.

Madigan and other lawmakers late last year scrambled to address other sexual harassment allegations made in the wake of the nationwide #MeToo movement, including the revelation that more than two dozen complaints went uninvestigated because the Legislative Inspector General position went unfilled for years.