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Sullivan out as Ag Director amid alleged rape cover-up


SPRINGFIELD (HOI) -- Illinois Governor JB Pritzker asked for the resignation of his Agriculture Director, John Sullivan, after learning from investigators that Sullivan knew about an alleged rape cover-up and never reported it, according to a spokesperson for the governor.

Pritzker's spokesperson, Emily Bittner, said the Governor's general counsel discovered the link, and shared all the information she learned from Sullivan with the Office of the Executive Inspector General, and offered to share that information with all law enforcement agencies looking into the situation.

Bittner said the Governor requested Sullivan's resignation because the then-senator became aware of the 2012 email, and did not handle it appropriately.

That email, revealed last week by WBEZ Radio in Chicago, was sent to the then-Governor Pat Quinn administration in 2012, asking for a political favor for state employee and Quincy resident, Forrest Ashby. 

Former lawmaker and lobbyist, Mike McClain, requested in the email that Quinn's administration do something about an upcoming disciplinary hearing for Ashby, alleging that Ashby helped cover up a rape in Champaign and ghost payrolling.

"Director Sullivan put together an outstanding team at the Department of Agriculture, and as a result, the Department’s work thrived. However, the Governor holds all state employees to the highest ethical standards." Bittner said.

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