MCLEAN COUNTY, Ill. — A former McLean County assistant state’s attorney said he was sexually harassed on the job in a lawsuit that was recently filed.
William Roberts claims that while he was working, a more senior assistant state’s attorney “routinely and severely” sexually harassed him. Roberts claims Kristen Alferink has a history of misusing her authority and harassing other men in the office.
The lawsuit accuses Alferink of assault and battery by attempting to forcibly grab and kiss him on multiple occasions.
After one incident in November 2017, Roberts says Alferink tried to forcibly kiss him. He allegedly went to state’s attorney Jason Chambers to report it, and one day later, received a text from Alferink, saying “You need to spend this weekend seriously looking for a new job.”
Shortly after, the lawsuit claims Roberts was fired, though it did not say his firing was linked to the complaint. After leaving the office, he says he started to get threatening emails from Alferink from her work email address.
Also named in the suit is the McLean County state’s attorney’s office, state’s attorney Don Knapp, former state’s attorney Jason Chambers and the McLean County government.
Alferink was fired from her post in 2018 as a felony sex crimes prosecutor, but the state’s attorney’s office would not say why she was let go.
“I would love to comment, but the rule of law is very important to me,” Chambers said when we reached out for a statement. “Illinois Supreme Court rule 63 prohibits me from making comment on pending litigation.”
We also reached out to the state’s attorney’s office.
“Neither the county nor any of the parties to my knowledge, have even been served with this lawsuit,” Knapp said. “Given that fact and the nature of pending litigation, it would simply be irresponsible of me to make a comment at this time. Furthermore, as you know, we hesitate to comment on any pending litigation.”
According to our news partner WGLT, at the time of the alleged harassment in November 2017, Roberts had been removed from the state’s registry of attorneys licensed to practice law. This was because he failed to pay a fee for continuing education courses.
Alferink, who now works as a prosecutor for Champaign County, also declined to comment, WGLT reports.
Disciplinary action by the state is pending.