* Sherri Garrett, you will recall, accused Tim Mapes last year of alleged sexual harassment and that led to his immediate ouster as House Speaker Michael Madigan’s chief of staff. Garrett approached Rep. Kelly Cassidy (D-Chicago) with her story after Cassidy had spoken out about Mapes.
Garrett sent this to Rep. Cassidy last night and Cassidy forwarded it to me with permission…
Kristen McQueary’s column was upsetting for me as someone who came forward to try to stop my harassment. Making the decision to speak out was incredibly difficult–but I just wanted the harassment to stop, and I felt I had no protection. I know how terrifying it is to decide to come forward, and I fear that columns like that of Ms. McQueary may have a chilling effect for those who are afraid that they won’t be believed, that their harasser or assaulter will be proclaimed to be deserving of redemption without having actually done anything to deserve said redemption.
This has been one of the most difficult experiences of my life. The truth is, nearly a year and a half since coming forward, I am still not fine. Mr. Mapes’ abuse has left a lasting effect on my soul. An apology never came my way from Mr. Mapes or the Speaker.
I wish for complete recovery for myself. I also wish that the person who harassed me would realize his wrongs and account for them. I would then love to see him go forward in life and be a better person to everyone. I don’t believe that can be accomplished when you do not recognize your wrongs.
That so many people are spending so much time and energy worrying about the well-being of the perpetrators and if they are okay is confusing to me. I believe we should all have a chance to rebound–but you must be willing to do what is right to earn that rebound.
We discussed the column in question yesterday.
Garrett is right, by the way. John Anthony denied being a sexual harasser and disputed accounts of the allegations that led to his firing at IDOC, even though some of it was caught on videotape. He only admitted to unspecified “mistakes,” and offered no public apology. Mapes has flatly denied wrongdoing.