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Isabel’s afternoon roundup

Tuesday, Jun 4, 2024 - Posted by Isabel Miller

* Tribune

In another set of sweeping lawsuits, former residents of juvenile detention centers have alleged widespread sexual abuse in youth prisons across Illinois and are calling on state officials to reform the system.

Two complaints brought by dozens of plaintiffs — one by male detainees and another by females — accuse the Illinois Department of Correction and Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice of failing to protect vulnerable young people against known sexual abuse at the hands of state employees.

The complaints build on allegations brought in another suit filed in May, bringing the number of people making abuse claims to about 200. The plaintiffs, who detail specific acts of abuse, are listed by their initials to protect their identities.

In a statement, the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice said it cannot comment on active litigation, but that it “takes seriously the safety of youth in the care of the department” and has enacted policies and procedures to identify possible instances of abuse or misconduct.

* ProPublica

Two national civil rights groups accused Illinois’ third-largest school district on Tuesday of relying on police to handle school discipline, unlawfully targeting Black students with tickets, arrests and other discipline.

In a 25-page complaint against Rockford Public Schools, filed with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights, the National Center for Youth Law and the MacArthur Justice Center said that Rockford police officers have been “addressing minor behaviors that should be handled as an educational matter by parents, teachers, and school leaders — and not as a law enforcement matter by police officers.” […]

The groups, which shared a copy of the complaint with ProPublica, asked the Education Department to find that the district violated federal law prohibiting discrimination and to order it to change its discipline practices and reliance on police. Using data obtained from the Rockford district and the Rockford Police Department, the groups argue that the district’s partnership with police funnels Black students — but not their white peers — into the justice system, even for the same infractions at school.

Click here to view the complaint.

* Citizen Action Illinois…

Citizen Action/Illinois, the state’s largest progressive coalition, proudly announces the release of its 2024 Legislative Scorecard. The comprehensive scorecard serves as a valuable resource for Illinoisans, shedding light on elected officials’ voting records on crucial issues in the areas of healthcare affordability, workers’ rights, consumer protections, LGBTQ+ rights, economic justice, and the environment. The bills featured in the scorecard reflect the priorities of the coalition’s advisory committee called the Policy Council.

“The Legislative Scorecard is a powerful tool for Illinoisans who want to hold their elected officials accountable and stay informed about the decisions that impact their lives,” said Julie Sampson, Executive Director of Citizen Action/Illinois. “With thousands of bills being filed each legislative session, we’ve narrowed-in on those that we believe best demonstrate a legislator’s commitment to serving the public interest and social and economic justice. This scorecard gives constituents the information needed to thank their elected officials or hold them accountable for their votes.”

The complete scorecard is here.

* Politico

Illinois is poised to become the first state to spotlight the diversity of nonprofit organization boards, according to proponents of the idea.

Gov. JB Pritzker supports Senate Bill 2930, just passed by the General Assembly, which calls for Illinois-based nonprofit organizations that distribute $1 million or more to charitable groups to report their board make-up — race, gender and sexual orientation — on their web sites each year.

The goal is to nudge foundations and big nonprofits to diversify their boards, said state Sen. Adriane Johnson who carried the bill along with state Rep. Edgar Gonzalez Jr.

“We are taking vital steps to support diversity and inclusion in the nonprofit sector,” Johnson told Playbook. “We are creating these spaces where people can show up as their true, unassimilated and authentic selves.”

*** Statehouse News ***

* WBEZ | For the third time, Illinois lawmakers fail to pass Karina’s Bill: Despite a coalition of over 40 advocacy groups leading the charge for this bill on the grassroots level, and buy-in from both Republican and Democratic lawmakers, the bill failed to pass for the third time in a row, leaving advocates “disappointed” and forced to once again look forward to the next legislative session.

* WGEM | Illinois comptroller pleased with ‘vanilla’ budget: Mendoza wishes state agencies and her fellow constitutional officers looked for ways they could trim their budgets. “Where do we have bloat? Where are we paying too much for a contract that we can get a better deal on,” she said.

*** Statewide ***

* WBEZ | Illinois residents can claim bigger state tax credit next year under new budget: The 2025 spending plan to which the Illinois House gave final legislative approval last week includes funding for once again tying the standard exemption to inflation, meaning the exemption that individuals can claim for tax year 2024 will grow from $2,425 to $2,775. That translates to tax savings for a family of four of more than $69, according to WBEZ calculations.

* Riverbender | Sara M. Salger Of Gori Firm Installed As President Of Illinois Trial Lawyers Association: Sara M. Salger, managing partner at The Gori Law Firm in Edwardsville, Illinois, will be installed as the 71st president of the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association (ITLA) on Friday, June 7, 2024, at its annual convention at the Sheraton Grand in Chicago, Illinois. Salger, 40, received her undergraduate degree in 2004 from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, graduating cum laude. In 2008, she graduated from Saint Louis University School of Law where she received an International Law Certificate and litigation focus. She is licensed to practice law in Illinois and Missouri.

* WTTW | As Locksmith License Requirements Set to Expire, Will Illinois Become the ‘Wild West’ Some Critics Fear?: The state law that currently mandates licensing requirements for locksmiths is expected to sunset in January 2029, thanks to legislation passed in Springfield. Illinois is currently one of only 13 states that require locksmiths to be licensed and is one of the strictest states when it comes to licensing requirements, according to Bill Gibson, executive director at Associated Locksmiths of America (ALOA).

*** Chicago ***

* WBEZ | Kim Foxx’s proposal to not charge felonies from certain traffic stops has had success elsewhere: [John Choi, the top prosecutor of Ramsey County, which covers St. Paul, Minnesota] said he used to believe such stops were beneficial for police investigations but said he couldn’t ignore that less than 2% resulted in charges and that Black drivers were being stopped at four times the rate of other drivers in St. Paul. “For the longest time, we’ve been policing in a way that is going after that 2% but not recognizing the harm that has been done to communities,” he said when he announced the policy.

* Tribune | CPD stresses readiness for Democratic National Convention as Secret Service boss visits Chicago: “With two months left until the convention, we’re finalizing plans and making sure all of our operations are safe,” CPD Superintendent Larry Snelling told reporters ahead of a meeting with Secret Service Director Kimberly Cheatle. “Make no mistake, we are ready. The partnership, collaboration and open communication between everyone involved is why we are ready.” […] The Secret Service will be in charge of security at the United Center and McCormick Place, where the official DNC events will be held. CPD will retain its jurisdiction across the city and be tasked with handling the expected protests. Other law enforcement agencies — FBI, ATF, Illinois State Police, Cook County sheriff’s police — will also assist.

* Sun-Times | $158,234 has been raised so far by all candidates for Chicago’s new elected school board: Candidates have until June 24 to file petitions to get on the ballot in one of 10 districts across the city. The Chicago Sun-Times and WBEZ are tracking candidate contributions as they come in. For now, we are only tallying all reported individual contributions over $150 to each candidate in every district. Small donations and in-kind contributions are not included in the total. After the filing deadline, come back for a more granular look at who’s influencing these elections.

* Sun-Time | Augustinian Catholic order paid $2 million settlement over rape accusations against priest but left his name off sex abuser list: After hiding the names of sexually abusive priests and religious brothers for years, the Augustinian Catholic order has posted its first public listing of clergy members in its Chicago province deemed to have been child predators, listing five men. The list doesn’t include the Rev. Richard McGrath, who was the longtime head of Providence Catholic High School in New Lenox until he was ousted in 2017 after a student reported seeing a nude image of a boy on the priest’s cell phone while he was a spectator at a wrestling match.

* Sun-Times | Priest says he’s OK after run-in with would-be thieves near St. Ignatius: ‘I’m praying for the person who shot at me’: The Rev. Jeremiah Lynch, 73, was in his home about 6 a.m. in the 1000 block of West Taylor Street when he heard noises from a nearby parking lot. When he opened the door to check on what was happening, he saw two males attempting to steal a catalytic converter from a parked car. Lynch asked what they were doing, and one pulled out a gun and fired three shots at him before fleeing, the Chicago police and a spokesperson for St. Ignatius College Prep said. Lynch, who is a priest at the Cook County Jail, suffered a graze wound on the forehead but said he was otherwise OK.

* Chicago Mag | The Making of Millennium Park: To mark the 20th anniversary of what has been hailed as “America’s most dazzling urban park,” Chicago spoke with organizers, artists, architects, builders, benefactors, and political insiders who played key roles in its often arduous, sometimes controversial, and ultimately triumphant creation.

*** Cook County and Suburbs ***

* Daily Herald | Lake County forest preserves wants to borrow $155 million for habit restoration, land acquisition: Commissioners, during a joint meeting of the forest board’s operations, planning and finance committees, recommended asking voters whether the district should borrow not more than $155 million by issuing general obligation bonds. A tax increase to pay the bonds would cost the owner of home valued at $300,000 about $33 per year, according to the forest preserve district.

*** Downstate ***

* SJ-R | Springfield restaurant closing after less than one year being open: An up-and-coming Springfield restaurant is shutting its doors for good.After opening in October 2023, the upscale diner Twisted Fork announced the final day of operation at the restaurant would be on June 5. Owners Amanda and Jered Sandner thanked the community for the restaurant’s support while it was open and made references to future ventures on a Facebook post announcing the closure May 31.

* NBC Chicago | More than 1 million chickens dead after massive southern Illinois fire: State Rep. Blaine Wilhour confirmed on his Facebook page that more than one million birds were killed in the fire, which devasted the free-range Farina Farms chicken facility. The cause of the fire remains under investigation by the Illinois State Fire Marshal. No injuries were reported during the massive response.

* WCIA | Urbana asks for special census after 7% population decrease: Mayor Diane Marlin said the 2020 census was 7% lower than the previous population count ten years ago. She said many of the areas that saw population loss were edging U of I’s campus during the pandemic when students were learning remotely. “The reason this is important is because many types of federal and state programs fund and funnel dollars to your community based on population,” Marlin said, “like our share of the state motor fuel tax, our share of the state income tax, federal programs.”

*** National ***

* The Sporting News | Angel Reese deserves better: Sky rookie’s Caitlin Clark comment went viral for all the wrong reasons: Reese’s full answer filled with praise for her teammates and the rest of the league wouldn’t fit into her neat narrative as a selfish villain. It was abruptly edited out. Predictably, her haters ate it up. Reese went on to explain the double standard that she and her teammates face. “My teammates have shared experiences where they’ve gotten their nose broken. This has been going on for a long time,” Reese explained.


  1. - TheInvisibleMan - Tuesday, Jun 4, 24 @ 3:04 pm:

    “The police investigated McGrath, but the case ended up being dropped after McGrath refused to cooperate and wouldn’t turn over his phone, which disappeared.”

    There’s a little more to it than this. At the time, the Joliet diocese and order had stated his phone was property of the diocese order not his personal phone. Then, the phone just vanished in the middle of the investigation.

    –The order did not respond to a question about why it was sheltering McGrath even though he refused to give the police his phone, which the school was paying for.–

    The order never filed any charges against him for stealing or destroying the property they were claiming was theirs and not his.

    “McGrath could not be reached”

    Which is another issue of its own and seems to be continuing to this day. The diocese and then this order kept moving him around, deliberately keeping his location secret including from law enforcement. At one point in being shuffled around, the diocese/order placed him into a church owned property right next to a preschool and grade school. Obviously, when people in the neighborhood found out about this, they were furious.

    Not cooperating with police. Destroying evidence. Hiding members under investigation. And still to this day protecting this guy.

    How does a place like this even still exist? Nobody should believe the order or the diocese is ever going to take this seriously, when their actions when they think nobody is watching is to continue to support this behavior.

  2. - Candy Dogood - Tuesday, Jun 4, 24 @ 3:29 pm:

    We should call the prevalence of child sexual abuse at Illinois institution, be they private or public, the Hastert Effect, not to be confused with the Hastert Rule.

    The Hastert Effect is that institutions that do not promote accountability within will inevitably protect themselves by enabling child predators.

  3. - JoanP - Tuesday, Jun 4, 24 @ 3:37 pm:

    = The police investigated McGrath, but the case ended up being dropped after McGrath refused to cooperate and wouldn’t turn over his phone =

    Have they never heard of a search warrant?

  4. - TheInvisibleMan - Tuesday, Jun 4, 24 @ 3:53 pm:

    –Have they never heard of a search warrant?–

    I’m sure half the police department which are alumni of the diocese, and the State’s Attorney who is also an alumni, have heard of search warrants.

    Draw your own conclusions. I certainly have.

  5. - The Real Downstate - Tuesday, Jun 4, 24 @ 4:29 pm:

    Is that WTTW story about locksmiths just a journalist not knowing anything about the Regulatory Sunset Act? I’m so confused…

  6. - Amalia - Tuesday, Jun 4, 24 @ 5:39 pm:

    Rev. Jermiah Lynch ok after an altercation His life story is very interesting Once upon a time I recall him biking all over the city at odd hours

  7. - Steve - Tuesday, Jun 4, 24 @ 5:48 pm:

    “The goal is to nudge foundations and big nonprofits to diversify their boards”.. That’s just another way of saying some are unhappy with the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Quotas are against the law , especially on boards.

  8. - Excitable Boy - Tuesday, Jun 4, 24 @ 6:27 pm:

    - That’s just another way of saying some are unhappy with the 1964 Civil Rights Act. -

    You really can’t help being triggered by this type of stuff, can you?

  9. - Frida’s boss - Tuesday, Jun 4, 24 @ 8:35 pm:

    We are creating these spaces where people can show up as their true, unassimilated and authentic selves.”
    How does this new law accomplish that? Will this go for the non-profits that literally serve racial issues and are focused on only one demographic?

  10. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Jun 4, 24 @ 10:11 pm:

    ===I’m so confused===

    You’re not the only one.

  11. - Suburban Mom - Tuesday, Jun 4, 24 @ 11:31 pm:

    Having a non-diverse board means you’re not only passing over top talent (tons of hugely-qualified women and minorities get passed over in favor of less-qualified white men, and you could instead be snagging all that unexploited talent, probably cheaper), but it also means you’re not serving all your customers or clients or employees appropriately.

    We had an all-male tech team propose a system that would broadcast your location all day to everyone in the building (we had hotdesking), and a bunch of women looked at it and said, “Wow, stalker central.” The women raised it to the legal team, and the female lawyers all immediately got alarmed and said, “This is going to cause crimes.” And male lawyers all dismissed it, saying, “Nobody acquires stalkers at work! Stalkers are random guys!” Sir, 95% of stalkers are acquired at work or school, via dudes who think that you being polite to them means you’re their one true love. None of these men had literally any idea of the life experiences of 50% of their coworkers, or the risks and annoyances women faced every single day at work. It wasn’t relevant to them, so they didn’t notice.

    That’s the kind of super-bad management and customer service you can avoid by having a diverse leadership team that brings diverse viewpoints to your leadership team and its strategy planning.

  12. - Not Marketable - Wednesday, Jun 5, 24 @ 9:54 am:

    Angel Reese or the other player. File this under “They don’t get it.”

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