IDW/Chicago NOW Statement re: WBEZ Story on Rape Cover-up


We, the boards of Illinois Democratic Women and the Chicago National Organization of Women, were shocked and horrified to read the WBEZ story about Springfield insider, Mike McClain, casually referring to a rape that happened in Champaign County in an email with former senior government officials. Since that story came out, we have been gratified to see many of our elected officials call for a proper investigation to be done in order to bring justice to this apparent criminal act.

In the last year and a half, we have seen the corrupt and toxic culture of Springfield that has harmed women revealed through subpoenas, lawsuits and those brave women who have come forward with their stories. While we are gratified by the work that has been done to begin to change that culture, namely by the women in the General Assembly, we feel strongly that this latest revelation cannot be swept under the rug and must be properly investigated by all relevant authorities.

Beyond there being a victim who may be suffering the pain of seeing their experience of sexual assault splashed across the news, there is a moral imperative to investigate this alleged crime and it’s cover up by those with tremendous political clout who are supposed to be doing the public good, not obstructing justice. We can no longer reward those who’ve worked to protect a toxic system that empowers corruption which hurts women and tolerates abuse. A system that empowers those who think they can nonchalantly dismiss the cover up of sexual assault in an email as Mike McClain did, is unethical and should be obsolete.

It is time to shine a bright light on why Mike McClain had so much political power in Springfield. McClain emailed two of the most senior officials in state government referencing rape and a coverup as well as ghost pay-rolling without fear of any negative consequence. McClain’s email is further evidence of unscrupulous behavior in our state capital which harms women and everyone who calls Illinois home. The women of Illinois will no longer tolerate this kind of abuse of power within our political system. McClain’s actions and those who have enabled him put our state’s future at risk. The time is up on this toxic culture in Springfield.

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