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*** UPDATED x1 *** Rep. Rita’s accuser to endorse his opponent

Thursday, Mar 8, 2018

* 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…


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

WHERE: [Redacted]

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.”

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - PJ - Thursday, Mar 8, 18 @ 9:38 am:

    We’re going to blame Madigan for Ira Silverstein now?

  2. - Hail Mary - Thursday, Mar 8, 18 @ 9:42 am:

    So the crux of the argument is he was found not guilty, but in this modern political environment he would have never survived long enough to make it to trial. So he should resign.

    It’s fascinating and not at all because of what Rita didn’t do. It’s an interesting comment on the current climate

  3. - hisgirlfriday - Thursday, Mar 8, 18 @ 9:44 am:

    madigan’s connection to silverstein is his role in no legislative inspector general getting appointed for years.

    That said, Cullerton does need to be called out more too for his stupid backing of Ira to the detriment of the rest of his caucus and state Democrats generally.

    The Democratic Party is way better off with Bob Rita and Ira Silverstein sitting at home collecting fat pensions instead of being ongoing embarrassments in Springfield. Neither of these men have ever done or been anything special enough to warrant the political capital wasted by leadership in helping and protecting them.

  4. - Matt Vernau - Thursday, Mar 8, 18 @ 9:57 am:

    Hisgirlfriday is probably right. But Rita was found not guilty. So the end justifies your means here? If we want better people in office do we keep recycling questionable attacks on the bad ones or rethink the whole process of selection?

  5. - 360 Degree TurnAround - Thursday, Mar 8, 18 @ 10:03 am:

    Whoever put the media advisory out should find a proof reader to make sure everyone’s name is spelled correctly.

  6. - Stand Tall - Thursday, Mar 8, 18 @ 10:22 am:

    Years ago, Rita was accused of beating a former girlfriend. He was acquitted in a criminal trial, but a judge at least temporarily granted a request by prosecutors to extend a protection order against Rita.

    And at the time, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, the boss’s daughter, said Rita should step down.

    Stop backing bad people.

  7. - Gorilla - Thursday, Mar 8, 18 @ 10:40 am:

    Is it a coincidence the person issuing the press statement is the same person coordinating AlainaHampton’s media tour? Who is really behind these press conferences?

  8. - Anonymous - Thursday, Mar 8, 18 @ 10:45 am:

    I met Mary Carvlin. Nice person, informed candidate, long time local presence in Blue Island.

  9. - titan - Thursday, Mar 8, 18 @ 10:48 am:

    It is going to be fascinating to watch this current political wave (#MeToo, #TimesUp, etc.) play out.

    Will the main party operations (called by some the political machines) figure out how to overcome them such that the movement fizzles? Will the movement prove sufficiently successful that the tactics get assimilated into the main party operations’ playbooks? Will it prove itself capable of being politically weaponized, and end up being misused in the ugly fashion of other political tools?

  10. - Honeybear - Thursday, Mar 8, 18 @ 10:53 am:

    Wait wait…hold up
    This is wrong.
    “It’s almost like a second chance”
    Is advocating both
    Double Jeopardy
    Vigilante/frontier justice
    Both are
    Wrong and extrajudicial.
    Politically weaponized frontier justice

  11. - Les Nesbit - Thursday, Mar 8, 18 @ 11:12 am:

    Mary Carvlin must not believe in second chances, or the whole innocent until proven guilty. Which Rita was never found guilty of anything.

  12. - DuPage - Thursday, Mar 8, 18 @ 11:22 am:

    The check cleared.

  13. - LakeCoQ - Thursday, Mar 8, 18 @ 11:32 am:

    This seems quite unfair. Rita was acquitted 16 years ago. To bring this back now because it appears opportune today is unfortunate. The Trib shouldn’t have given it the prominence and attention it did.

  14. - Gorilla - Thursday, Mar 8, 18 @ 11:48 am:

    - hisgirlfriday - Thursday, Mar 8, 18 @ 9:44 am:
    madigan’s connection to silverstein is his role in no legislative inspector general getting appointed for years.

    That said, Cullerton does need to be called out more too for his stupid backing of Ira to the detriment of the rest of his caucus and state Democrats generally.==

    Aren’t all of the legislative leaders responsible for no Inspector General? Cullerton should get some blame for that too, as well as Radogno and Durkin. Cullerton should be called out for backing Ira and doing nothing when Rotheimer made the complaint. Cullerton did nothing. Madigan took some action.

  15. - ILDemVoter - Thursday, Mar 8, 18 @ 11:58 am:

    - Stand Tall -
    You’re right- why continue to back bad people? Criminal standard is different then civil- I don’t know the Court situation but Judges don’t casually issue protective orders, even if the case couldn’t sustain criminal charges.

  16. - NorthsideNoMore - Thursday, Mar 8, 18 @ 12:15 pm:

    A person was pinched 30 plus years ago for shop lifting a pair of shoes paid it back and became model citizen and community leader. Became a big issue in the fall three cycles ago. Nothing is sacred anymore family included… Sadly.

  17. - anon2 - Thursday, Mar 8, 18 @ 1:34 pm:

    In today’s climate, an acquittal = a conviction, if the charge was sexual assault. Though found not guilty, he should nonetheless be punished for the crime 16 years later.

  18. - walker - Thursday, Mar 8, 18 @ 3:20 pm:

    Rita’s case was well-known, and his constituents reelected him for multiple terms after he was acquitted. The voters have no say in this?

    Rita’s “boss” is his voting constituents. His is not a staff position. It would be extremely problematical for the Speaker or any other Leader to remove him, barring a conviction. Of course MJM could drop his political support, or run someone against him, but the voters hire or fire him.

  19. - Centennial - Thursday, Mar 8, 18 @ 3:29 pm:

    Hampton and Hogan have the same “pro bono” spokeswoman? That certainly has a stink factor to it. Would love to know the story there…

  20. - hisgirlfriday - Thursday, Mar 8, 18 @ 3:44 pm:

    @walker - Who is trying to take away the voters’ say? running and campaigning against rita isn’t taking away anything from the voters. it’s giving them a choice.

  21. - Who else - Thursday, Mar 8, 18 @ 3:47 pm:

    ==Is it a coincidence the person issuing the press statement is the same person coordinating AlainaHampton’s media tour? Who is really behind these press conferences?==

    ==Hampton and Hogan have the same “pro bono” spokeswoman? That certainly has a stink factor to it. Would love to know the story there… ==

    Take off your tin foil hats. Ms. Brett is no longer working with Ms. Hampton. All attempts to expose the lack of accountability in Madigan’s operation do not flow from Ms. Hampton no matter how hard you try to make that the case.

  22. - Lorna Brett - Thursday, Mar 8, 18 @ 5:11 pm:

    I am the person issuing the press statements — and sorry for the misspelled names… I don’t have an assistant or proof reader. I don’t work for a big PR firm. I do not work for anyone. Nobody is paying me. I have a long history of working for women seeking justice. I am helping the TIME’S UP people. I am working with the women suing Harvey Weinstein. All pro bono which means free. Take a shot at me that’s OK but don’t question my motives. I was asked to help even though I live in New York City (lived in Illinois for almost 20 years) because anyone taking on Michael Madigan is toast and their career is ruined. I had nothing to lose. Please tell me why Democrats so easily criticize Trump but when it comes to one of their own the wagons circle? The women in leadership in the Dem Party should be ashamed of themselves. — Lorna Brett

  23. - Flugel - Thursday, Mar 8, 18 @ 6:37 pm:

    ==- Lorna Brett - Thursday, Mar 8, 18 @ 5:11 pm:

    I am the person issuing the press statements — and sorry for the misspelled names… I don’t have an assistant or proof reader. ==

    At the Hampton press conference you said you didn’t mean the line about removing Madigan. You said it was in error and your edits weren’t made before the statement was released. Now you want Madigan gone and you’re issing your own statements. I heard from a credible source you trolled employees for stories. There are plenty of women dealing with harassment who could use your services, including the Ford Motor women. I find your choice of clients rather suspect.

  24. - Centennial - Thursday, Mar 8, 18 @ 6:45 pm:

    The women in the Dem Party of IL should be ashamed of themselves for not doing exactly what you think they should do? And publicly at that. The audacity of someone to think they can dictate to (and attempt to shame) women to respond they way they see fit is truly impressive.

  25. - Walsh - Thursday, Mar 8, 18 @ 8:07 pm:

    Word on the street is Lorna Brett is being bankrolled by Blair Hull.

    Lorna, any truth to that?

  26. - Lorna Brett - Thursday, Mar 8, 18 @ 9:20 pm:

    No truth to Blair Hull and I working in coullusion. I know or knew Blair but haven’t spoken to him in 15 years. Not working for Rauner. I heard that too. I did hesitate at the Hampton press conference about saying Madigan should resign. You are right. I did feel at that moment that as I don’t live and vote in Illinois that it was heavy handed. And I wanted to respect local so to speak. But then I thought wait, we all have opinions about politics in places that are not our homes. Roy Moore…Al Franken…to be balanced. We give money and opinions to causes and races that are not “our own” but do so freely. So I now do say openly what I think though I don’t live in Chicago anymore. Thanks for the questions I appreciate the chance to talk to people who think. Lorna

  27. - Lorna Brett - Thursday, Mar 8, 18 @ 9:45 pm:

    Regarding Ford Motor Company women needing my help. I brought to life — working with a local news station and sneaking in cameras at the plant — two class action lawsuits against Ford Motor Company in the 90s. We had a DATELINE NBC 45 minute segment. I humbly say I made that happen. Those women had justice Rey I testified at Alderman Burke’s hearing a few weeks ago to say how appalled I was that this was happening again. Happy to answer any other questions about my work.

  28. - Anonymous - Friday, Mar 9, 18 @ 7:26 am:

    “I was asked to help even though I live in New York City (lived in Illinois for almost 20 years) because anyone taking on Michael Madigan is toast and their career is ruined.”

    Who asked you?

    “Please tell me why Democrats so easily criticize Trump but circle the wagons when it’s one of their own.”

    Because, Lorna, Trump has been personally accused of assaulting 14 women. Madigan has been accused of apparently failing to stop someone from sending text messages fast enough even though the texts had stopped months before he was told about them. And now for not doing “something” to a man 15 years ago who was acquitted of the charges against him. In other words, we criticize Trump because he seems have personally done something wrong and aren’t buying your attempt to use #MeToo to serve some hidden political agenda.

  29. - C'mon - Friday, Mar 9, 18 @ 8:33 am:

    Ms. Brett’s efforts seem less about the women involved and more about politicizing their stories in an effort to make it all about Madigan. This latest press release makes that clear. Does Ms. Brett really think that sexual harassment is limited to the House Democrats? Anyone who has worked in Illinois politics knows better. More women might be willing to share their stories if they weren’t being packaged and used in this way.

  30. - Lorna Brett - Friday, Mar 9, 18 @ 8:41 am:

    I don’t think this problem is limited to the House Democrats at all. I am happy to speak to anyone who needs a lawyer or help if they are in a situation and don’t know what to do or who to turn to. I don’t think anyone was “packaged” they are people telling their stories. It can be an awfully lonely place to be as Liz Hogan knows. I have never met Liz in person but I can’t wait to…I just helped her tell her story. I can be reached at any time.

  31. - Anonymous - Friday, Mar 9, 18 @ 8:45 am:

    Liz Hogan told her story. 15 years ago. In court. And Rita was acquitted.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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