* Tribune front page today…
Fifteen years ago, a jury acquitted state Rep. Robert Rita after a woman he had dated accused him of barging into her house in Evergreen Park, pulling her to the floor and threatening to rape her.
Now the case is resurfacing as the Democratic state lawmaker from south suburban Blue Island runs for re-election in a new political climate shaped by a sexual harassment scandal in Springfield as well as the nationwide #MeToo movement.
Emboldened by a belief that her story carries more resonance today, Rita’s former girlfriend is speaking out and siding with a female challenger, Mary Carvlin, in the March 20 primary. Carvlin also has raised the issue in her campaign, calling a news conference to highlight the case and questioning Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan’s continued support for Rita.
“It’s almost like a second chance,” Liz Hogan, Rita’s accuser, told the Tribune.
Rita, who was found not guilty in 2003 on misdemeanor charges of domestic battery and criminal trespass, declined requests for a Tribune interview, though his representatives dismiss the issue as an old charge that ended in acquittal.
* Media advisory from Lorna Brett…
LIZ HOGAN ON HER ABUSER REP BOB RITA & MORE ABOUT SPEAKER MICHEAL MADIGAN’S ROLE
Time’s Up Bob…and Mike
WHAT: Liz Hogan has much more to say about Mike Madigan’s role in protecting her abuser Bob Rita. Hogan to endorse Mary Carvlin.
WHEN: 1:30 PM
WHO: Liz Hogan / Mary Carvlin, candidate for State Representative 28th District
WHY: Men like Bob Rita, Kevin Quinn, Shaw Decreamer, Ira Silverstein can’t keep getting protected / advanced by kingmaker like Mike Madigan.
Carvlin is challenging Rep. Rita in the Democratic primary.
*** UPDATE *** Press release…
Liz Hogan, the woman who brought domestic battery charges against then candidate for state representative Bob Rita, came forward today after over a decade of silence. Miller endorsed Mary Carvlin for State Representative of the 28th District and spoke about Speaker Madigan’s support of abusers.
Hogan called candidate Mary Carvlin after reading a Chicago Tribune column detailing the events that left her battered by Rita. The two met for a three-hour breakfast.
“I had not thought about Bob Rita and what happened for years. It was too painful,” said Liz Hogan. “When I read that column it all came back to me. I felt I needed to tell my story so I called Mary and we had a three-hour breakfast. It felt good to get it all off my chest,” said Hogan.
Hogan was a Cook County sheriff when she dated Rita. Her father Andy McGann was a state representative for ten years and loyal to Speaker Madigan. McGann went to Madigan when his daughter began having troubles with Rita and asked for his help to protect his daughter. Madigan allegedly said he would not get involved. Madigan attended McGann’s funeral with his wife a few years later.
Carvlin wants to be a fresh voice in Springfield and if elected pledges not to vote for Michael J. Madigan for Speaker of the House of Representatives.
Carvlin, a longtime Blue Island resident and veteran Spanish teacher, is running against incumbent Bob Rita. “Voting for Bob Rita is voting for Speaker Michael Madigan. This is a man whose organization has rampant sexual harassment and history of protecting the abuser not the abused.”
“Time’s up for State Representative Bob Rita and Speaker Michael Madigan. They need to step down,” said Mary Carvlin.
Lorna Brett, Hogan’s pro bono advisor and women’s activist said, “It seems Speaker Madigan has finally found religion when it comes to who he sides with in matters of abuse — the abuser or the victim. It’s too little, too late and he should step down as Speaker and as leader of the Democratic Party of Illinois. And, the Democratic women in leadership need to step up and demand this. It’s enough.”