Michael Madigan's chief of staff Tim Mapes resigns after sexual harassment allegations

Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan's chief of staff was ordered to resign Wednesday after allegations of sexual harassment surfaced.

"At my direction, Tim Mapes has resigned as my Chief of Staff and Clerk of the Illinois House of Representatives. Jessica Basham has been named Chief of Staff for the Office of the Speaker effective immediately. Further, Mr. Mapes has resigned as the Executive Director of the Democratic Party of Illinois and all other roles with my political committees," a Madigan statement said Wednesday afternoon.

The resignation came hours after a Madigan staffer came forward Wednesday morning to accuse Mapes of "multiple instances of bullying and harassment."

EMBED More News Videos

Tim Mapes resigned as chief of state for House Speaker Michael Madigan.

Mapes was the gatekeeper to the most powerful man in Illinois politics.

"The only way, as an employee, to see Speaker Madigan is you have to make an appointment through Tim," Sherri Garret said.

Garrett, who is an account technician and minutes clerk for the Speaker's office, said the harassment and bullying went on for many years. She accused him of inappropriate comments about her clothing and making jokes about sexual harassment training.

"I have decided to come forward because we have a serious and pervasive problem in our state government, and I could no longer remain silent about my own mistreatment," said Garrett, of Springfield. "My hope is that by coming forward, I can help to create space for others to do the same."

She said that Mapes once told her to make sure her pink bra didn't show during an inauguration ceremony.

"Tim Mapes said, completely out of nowhere, that I needed to make sure that I was not showing my pink bra to the judge during inauguration because he knows how the girls who work on the second floor like to leave little to the imagination," she said.

On another occasion, she said he made light of the sexual harassment training Madigan ordered last year.

"Over the course of the last several years, I have endured and personally witnessed bullying and repeated harassment that was often sexual and sexist in nature," Garrett said during a Wednesday press conference.
Garrett said she never talked to Madigan, because she would have had to set up an appointment through Mapes.

In response, Madigan's statement said: "Regarding Ms. Garrett's concerns shared earlier today, neither I or the House Democratic Ethics Officer had been made aware of Ms. Garrett's complaints against Tim Mapes."

Garrett also alleged Wednesday that former state Rep. Ken Dunkin, D-Chicago, made sexually inappropriate comments to her and another staffer, allegedly saying "I want to take both of you home and see which one will be the naughtiest."

Gov. Bruce Rauner, who appointed Dunkin to the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District, has now called on Dunkin to resign.

"My office was aware of the comments made by then Representative Dunkin and took action to handle the matter. That issue had been disclosed publicly earlier this year by my office along with all other known allegations of harassment. It is clear that the culture needs to change and we need to ensure all issues are dealt with quickly and appropriately. I have stated my commitment to eliminating harassment of any kind in the Capitol, as well as all political committees, and my desire to ensure we create a culture where individuals feel secure in making a complaint," the Madigan statement said.

Madigan said that he intends to appoint an individual with extensive experience conducting investigations to review all operations of the House of Representatives.

Last month, state Rep. Kelly Cassidy, D-Chicago, accused Mapes and Madigan of retaliation that cost her a part-time job with the Cook County Sheriff's Department after she challenged Madigan's handling of harassment allegations. She called Garret courageous.

"I'm frustrated, I'm disappointed and I'm sad for the folks like Sherri and even more sad for the folks who can't come forward, who are too afraid to come forward," Cassidy said.

In response to Mapes' resignation, Garrett said late Wednesday: "I am relieved that Mr. Mapes has resigned. I know victims of harassment throughout our state government and political sphere share that relief. I am hopeful that more individuals will now feel safe coming forward, knowing that their words can make a difference and force change."

This is the second Madigan staffer to face harassment allegations.

Alaina Hampton, a former campaign worker for Madigan, alleged that her supervisor, Kevin Quinn, sexually harassed her for months. Quinn, who is the brother of Chicago Ald. Marty Quinn (13th Ward), has since been fired.

In a statement, she said Wednesday: "I am in awe of Ms. Garrett's bravery. I know how difficult it must have been for her to come forward and speak her truth. In doing so, she has forced real change. Still, this isn't just about one or two men's jobs. To other victims considering coming forward--now is the time. Momentum is on our side."

"The Democrats have a real problem in this culture of sexual harassment, and it's not going to get changed with Speaker Madigan in charge," said Rep. Jeanne Ives (R-Wheaton)

"I think he's more vulnerable than he's ever been before. The #MeToo movement has brought down many more powerful men than him," said ABC7 Political Analyst Laura Washington.
Copyright © 2019 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.