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Lawyer of man suing McLean County says they want training for employees after harassment allegations

MCLEAN COUNTY (WEEK) — A former McLean County prosecutor is seeking monetary damage as well as equitable relief in a case alleging sexual harassment by one of his former superiors.

“The allegation is that he reported the misconduct to his superiors as well as that the behavior was open and obvious to everyone in the McLean County State’s Attorney’s office,” defense attorney Jeffery Kulwin said.

Kulwin is representing William Roberts who is suing former McLean County Assistant State’s Attorney Kristen Alferink, current McLean County State’s Attorney Don Knapp, former McLean County State’s Attorney Jason Chambers and the McLean County Government.

Roberts alleges Alferink began harassing him in 2016 by having closed-door meetings alone with him, grabbing him and trying to kiss him, among other things.

“[In the complaint] there are a lot of references to specific comments and text messages and emails that document a lot fo the allegations about what had occurred,” Kulwin said.

Alferink, who was fired for undisclosed reasons last year, did not return our request for comment.

Chambers, now a circuit judge, is accused of firing Roberts in 2017 for “pretextual reasons” instead of looking into the complaints against Alferink.

“As a result of opposing this misconduct and reporting it, he suffered retaliation and retaliation can come in many forms. In this instance, the allegation in the complaint is that he was subjected to retaliation by being terminated,” Kulwin said.

Chambers told 25 News he would “love to comment” but Illinois Supreme Court rules prohibit him from commenting on pending litigation. State’s Attorney Don Knapp also declined our request for an interview.

Kulwin said the point of the case is to not only get justice for his client but also protect other McLean County employees.

“What it seeks is to change the working conditions that had existed at the time of the complaint to require education and training for the folks who work there and protect the other assistant state’s attorneys from being subjected to harassment and retaliation,” he said.

Stephanie Rodriguez

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