The irony of Kane County State’s Attorney Joe McMahon offering more absurd excuses than the defendants he prosecutes certainly isn’t lost on me, and it shouldn’t be lost on you either. His newest response to the Kane County Board’s questions about the insistent and rampant sexual harassment in his office is that it didn’t happen because none of the “victims” sued him.
Oh! Really??? That’s a lot like saying, “Clearly, I never drive over the speed limit because I never get a ticket.” Right! If a prosecutor tried that sixth-grade logic with a judge, he or she would be laughed right out of the courtroom.
For my newer readers, in October of 2018, I filed a Freedom of Information Request (FOIA) for all sexual harassment complaints and the disposition in regard to just one former prosecutor. Civil Division Head Joe Lulves’ response consisted of 255 grayed out pages with the exception of just one unredacted sentence.
Lulves regularly brags that his office is FOIA-proof.
So, I filed an appeal with the Illinois Attorney General’s Office the following month and they ruled in my favor in June. But the KCSAO hasn’t turned over those documents because McMahon and Lulves, the very souls sworn to uphold and prosecute the law, continue to ignore that ruling.
With no other available option, I sued the KCSAO in civil court to get a judge to order them to turn over the unredacted complaints. That case will be heard before Judge Melissa Barnhart in Kendall County courtroom 110 on November 6 at 1 p.m.
Meanwhile, I’ve spoken at the last three Kane County Board meetings in an effort to engage those capable commissioners in the process of putting pressure on the KCSAO to do the right thing.
Thankfully, the Board has called Joe McMahon on the carpet three times so far, but every time they do, he issues another insipid the-dog-ate-my-homework excuse. His latest alibi is the harassment didn’t happen because no one sued him.
Of course, the harassment victims didn’t sue him! It would be bleepin’ career suicide if they did!
First, if any Kane County attorney sued McMahon for sexual harassment, the KCSAO would refuse to make any plea deals with their clients, they’d tie those clients up in court, and they’d generally make their practice as miserable as possible.
And Second, and so much worse, McMahon has a reputation for being exceptionally vindictive. If any of his former employees had the temerity to sue him, he would pursue them like Captain Ahab tended to go after white whales.
“Oh c’mon, Jeff! You’re just making this up because you don’t like Joe McMahon.”
Au contraire, dear reader! As is always the case, I have beyond-a-reasonable-doubt evidence to back up my claim!
You see, when I originally broke the KCSAO sexual harassment story, a father and daughter attorney team privately came down on me like white on rice, and I couldn’t figure out why. But as any reasonable journalist would, I kept the conversation going until I better understood the situation.
As it turns out, the daughter had been similarly harassed by this former prosecutor and the father thought I was writing about her. That’s how pervasive the sexual harassment was.
The father was furious that I was writing about his daughter without her express written consent, which would be more than understandable if that were actually the case. And he was even more furious because of the repercussions McMahon would rein down on their practice if he thought they were the source.
To quote that great philosopher Alannis Morrissette, “Isn’t it ironic, don’t you think?”
Think about it! Those attorneys were so terrified of McMahon that they inadvertently outed the daughter as one of the victims. And this is a law firm that’s raised quite a bit of campaign cash on McMahon’s behalf over the years. They continued to send those checks even after the daughter was harassed, despite the lack of any real consequences for the harasser(s). And the did that because they didn’t want to make Joe McMahon angry!
So, tell me, what hope does a former female prosecutor have against the full weight of the Kane County State’s Attorney’s Office and Joe McMahon’s vast propensity to exact a pound of flesh, particularly when they’re trying to establish a new practice? That’s right, virtually none!
And McMahon’s contention that he’s innocent because no one’s sued him is worse than just immoral, it’s downright despicable.
But the fat lady ain’t sung yet! When McMahon steps down in 2020 and a new SA takes the helm, he will no longer have the kind of leverage that keeps local attorney’s in line. And these aggrieved former prosecutors have very long memories – as they should.
Perhaps Joe won’t be able to say he hasn’t been sued much longer!