Questions surround Madigan’s handling of sexual assault allegations against ex-state rep

WGN Investigates

CHICAGO — As a state legislator Jack Franks was known for speaking frankly about the state’s troubles.

It helped propel him to a new elected post in 2016: Chairman of the McHenry County Board.

After he left the legislature, House Speaker Mike Madigan’s office received a complaint from an employee alleging Franks sexually harassed her.

That complaint was made in November 2018.  Madigan says he ordered an investigation and his office banned the former legislator from visiting the Capitol Complex.

Three months later, Madigan’s office determined the “allegations were credible.”

The next month: The Speaker’s Office received “additional information” indicating “possible criminal conduct” and notified law enforcement.

But it wasn’t until last week – a year and two months after the allegation was made – that State Police executed a search warrant at Madigan’s Springfield office.

The Chicago Sun-Times reports the warrant said there is probable cause for the crimes of criminal sexual abuse, assault, stalking and misconduct.  The warrant specifically named former state Rep. Jack Franks.

All of this unfolded after an uncomfortable chapter in Madigan’s decades of leadership.

Since 2018, Madigan has been under fire for how his office has handled sexual misconduct claims.

The Speaker’s longtime chief of staff Tim Mapes was fired after being accused of inappropriate conduct.

“I’m working on this particular issue and we’re going to provide good, strong leadership through it,” Madigan said in 2018.

That leadership did not include making the claim against Franks public until now.

The chairperson of the democratic party of McHenry County now says she is “shocked by the serious allegations made against County Board Chairman Jack Franks regarding sexual harassment.  We were unaware of the charges and investigation being conducted by the Speaker’s Office.”

It is too late for another democrat to challenge Jack Franks in the March primary for McHenry County Board President.

When reached via text message, Franks declined to comment. He has not been charged with a crime.

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