By” Diane Benjamin
A Federal lawsuit was filed on September 24, 2019 in the Peoria Division of the Central District of Illinois naming the McLean County State’s Attorney’s office, Don Knapp, Kristen Alferink, and Jason Chambers as defendants.
The lawsuit was filed by a former Assistant State’s Attorney – William Layne Roberts.
The suit alleges:
It appears Don Knapp was included only because of his current position as State’s Attorney, he is not accused of anything in the suit. Kristen Alferink is accused of sexually harassing Roberts while Chambers knew and did nothing to stop her. It is alleged Chambers fired the plaintiff instead. Jason Chambers, former Town of Normal Trustee and State’s Attorney, has since been appointed Circuit Court Judge.
See the lawsuit here: Federal Lawsuit
- While working for the McLean County State’s Attorney’s Office, Plaintiff was
subjected to severe and pervasive unwanted and unwelcome sex harassment and retaliation by a senior and superior female Assistant State’s Attorney, defendant Kristen Alferink
- Alferink’s campaign of harassment and retaliation began in December 2016 and
continued—escalating over time in frequency and severity—though December 2017
- Alferink was responsible for prosecuting sexual assault cases for the McLean
County State’s Attorney’s Office
- Alferink also has a history of misusing her authority and supervisory position
within the McLean County State’s Attorney’s Office in order to sexually harass men at work.
In several different ways, the McLean County State’s Attorney’s Office knew and should have
known about Alferink’s propensity to sexually harass men at work
- On multiple occasions, Plaintiff reported, complained about and opposed Alferink’s sexual harassment to, among others, the ultimate authority in the office, McLean
County State’s Attorney Jason Chambers. However, no action was taken to correct or control Alferink’s sexual misconduct. No action was taken to enforce McLean County policies prohibiting sex discrimination, harassment and retaliation. In several different ways, the McLean County State’s Attorney’s Office knew and should have known about Alferink’s sexual harassment of Plaintiff at work
- On November 22, 2017, Alferink entered Plaintiff’s office and closed the door
behind her so she could be alone with Plaintiff. When Plaintiff tried to leave, Alferink sexually assaulted Plaintiff by grabbing him and attempting to kiss him
- Later that day, Plaintiff reported, complained about and opposed Alferink’s sexual
misconduct to the Mclean County State’s Attorney, Jason Chambers. In reporting Alferink, Plaintiff recounted in detail numerous incidents of sexual harassment perpetrated by Alferink that had occurred during the past year, several of which Plaintiff had reported previously. In response, McLean County State’s Attorney Jason Chambers stated he would “look into it.”
- On November 23, 2017, the day after Plaintiff’s report to McLean County State’s
Attorney Jason Chambers, Alferink sent Plaintiff a text message stating “You need to spend time this weekend seriously looking for a new job.”
- Rather than protect Plaintiff by correcting Alferink’s sexual misconduct, McLean
County State’s Attorney Jason Chambers instead retaliated against Plaintiff by terminating him for pretextual reasons. Alferink suffered no adverse consequences for her conduct and she was allowed to continue prosecuting felony sex crimes for McClean County
- After Plaintiff was terminated, Alferink tried to buy Plaintiff’s silence by offering
to help him find a new job and by confessing her “feelings” for him. When Plaintiff (again) resisted and rebuffed her advances, Alferink sent Plaintiff threatening emails from her official McLean County State’s Attorney work email account, including a final email to Plaintiff which stated, “Be careful about who you are talking to about the State’s Attorney’s Office. Some of the stuff you are saying about the office/people here is actionable and is getting back to us.”