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Speaker Madigan says he'll handle sex harassment allegations better.

Byline: Chicago Sun-Times

Speaker Madigan says he'll handle sex harassment allegations better

In a letter to legislators, Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan -- under fire over his handling of sexual harassment allegations within his political organization -- said he takes responsibility for not doing enough when it comes to handling harassment claims.

"We haven't done enough. I take responsibility for that. I would never condone, sweep under the rug or refuse to take any step to ensure we did not eradicate any behavior of this kind," Madigan wrote in a letter to Democratic caucus members on Friday.

"I understand the 'knock it off' mentality is not enough, and we must, and will, do better moving forward," Madigan wrote. "I commit to do more, and we must, and will, do better moving forward."

The speaker's powerful letter comes a day after a lawyer accused Madigan's Southwest Side ward organization of trying to find "dirt" on political consultant Alina Hampton, the woman whose sexual harassment allegations led the powerful Democrat to fire a longtime aide who is the brother of the ward's alderman. A spokesman for Madigan said they were "not involved."

The lawyer for Hampton sent a "cease and desist" letter to Jack Hynes on Thursday, accusing her former boss at the nonprofit Chicago Heights Economic Development Corp. of trying to smear Hampton -- and claiming that Madigan's team put Hynes up to it.

Hampton held a news conference on Tuesday alleging a pattern of harassment by Kevin Quinn -- a younger brother of Alderman Marty Quinn -- who sent her barrages of unwanted text messages while she worked on Madigan's campaign, she says.

* For more coverage, see the story at chicago.suntimes.com.

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Title Annotation:State_
Publication:Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)
Date:Feb 17, 2018
Words:278
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