Illinois ag director resigns over response to rape email

State News

Illinois Department of Agriculture Director John Sullivan discusses the opening of the application process to grow industrial hemp in Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s office in this April 30, 2019 photo. Sullivan’s agency booked the southern rock group Confederate Railroad in mid-April for an August appearance at the DuQuoin County State Fair, but emails and text messages obtained by The Associated Press show that Pritzker didn’t know about the engagement until two months later. He abruptly canceled the contract with the band, which uses Confederate flags in its logo, citing an unwritten administration policy that no state tax money be spent to support symbols of hate or racism. (AP Photo/John O’Connor)

SPRINGFIELD, Ill.– Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s agriculture director has resigned after acknowledging that he received but did not act on, a lobbyist’s email seven years ago which referenced an alleged rape cover-up and illegal hiring practices. 

John Sullivan said in a statement Monday that he did not read the email thoroughly at the time but said, “I accept responsibility for what was truly an unintentional oversight and the subsequent inaction.”

The July 2012 email from Michael McClain sought leniency from gubernatorial aides for a “loyal” state employee who “has kept his mouth shut on … ghost workers, the rape in Champaign and other items.” 

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