Illinois Dept. of Agriculture Director resigns

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Illinois State Capitol

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WCIA) — The state’s Department of Agriculture Director John Sullivan has resigned.

This comes after a former lobbyist’s email came to light defending a state worker facing accusations for having stayed silent about a “rape in Champaign.” While Sullivan is not a suspect in the incident, Governor Pritzker became aware that Sullivan, a former State Senator, knew about it and did not report it.

Governor Pritzker’s office released the following statement:

Governor Pritzker sought and accepted Department of Agriculture Director John Sullivan’s resignation this weekend. Director Sullivan had a long and productive public service career as a State Senator, and the Governor is grateful for his willingness to serve in the administration. Director Sullivan put together an outstanding team at the Department of Agriculture, and as a result, the Department’s work thrived. However, the Governor holds all state employees to the highest ethical standards, and the Governor requested the Director’s resignation because he is disturbed that then-Senator Sullivan became aware of the existence of the July 31, 2012 email contemporaneously, and did not handle it appropriately, including not alerting the inspector general or other authorities. The Governor’s general counsel has shared all of the information she learned from Director Sullivan with the Office of the Executive Inspector General and offered to share this information with all law enforcement agencies looking into this situation. The administration will continue to assist in the ongoing investigation.

OFFICE OF GOVERNOR J.B. PRITZKER

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