John Sullivan, Illinois' Director of Agriculture, resigns over connection to alleged rape cover-up

Illinois' Director of Agriculture has resigned because of his connection to the alleged cover-up of a rape.

John Sullivan tendered his resignation on Sunday after the Governor's office became aware of information that Sullivan, who was a state senator at the time of the rape cover-up email, knew about it, but did not take any action.

Sullivan's abrupt resignation is just the latest casualty of the now infamous 2012 email from former lobbyist Michael McClain alleging the cover-up of a rape.

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Governor JB Pritzker requested and received Sullivan's resignation this weekend. His office released a statement that said, "He (the Governor) is disturbed that then-Senator Sullivan became aware of the existence of the July 31, 2012 email contemporaneously, and did not handle it appropriately, including not alerting the inspector general or other authorities."

In McClain's email, he was advocating for a constituent of Sullivan's, state employee Forrest Ashby, who was facing a disciplinary hearing. Sullivan said in a statement emailed to ABC7 that he was battling cancer that summer, was running for reelection and just didn't read the entire email which had been forwarded to him.

"Had I read the email thoroughly, my reaction would have been disgust and I would have immediately notified proper authorities. Nevertheless, the email was in my inbox and not reading the entire email led to my failure to immediately respond as I would have. Bottom Line: I accept responsibility for what was truly an unintentional oversight and the subsequent inaction," Sullivan said.

Meanwhile, a source confirms the investigation into McClain's rape cover-up email has law enforcement looking at convicted sex offender Scott Thompson, who is housed at a downstate rehabilitation facility where Forrest Ashby worked in 2012.

Sullivan said the Governor's office notified him this weekend that his name had surfaced in another email from McClain that referenced his advocacy for Ashby.

Sullivan said when he reviewed his personal emails from 2012, he found the rape cover-up email that had been forwarded to him.
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