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Police probe sexual misconduct, stalking allegations against McHenry County Board Chairman Jack Franks

State police probe sexual misconduct, stalking allegations against Franks

The Illinois State Police are investigating McHenry County Board Chairman Jack Franks in connection with allegations that include sexual misconduct and stalking, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

Reached by phone Friday evening, Franks, D-Marengo, denied any wrongdoing and wasn’t sure who might have made allegations against him. Franks also said he was unaware of a search warrant that, according to the Sun-Times, state police executed at Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan’s Capitol office Wednesday.

“I handle myself appropriately,” Franks said. “I’ve done nothing wrong. I certainly hope people reserve their judgment.”

The Sun-Times reported that the allegations date back to 2016, according to the speaker’s office. That was the last year Franks served as a state representative before he took office as the McHenry County Board chairman.

The Sun-Times obtained a copy of the warrant through a Freedom of Information Act request and reported that police determined “probable cause exists for the crimes of criminal sexual abuse, criminal sexual assault, official misconduct, stalking and aggravated battery.”

Franks confirmed that he received a letter in April from the speaker’s office and replied with a full denial of any misconduct.

“I received the correspondence, which I quickly responded to with a full denial, and since then, I’ve never heard anything from the speaker’s office about it,” Franks said.

The search warrant sought personnel files that contained information related to the allegations against Franks, who has not been charged.

In a statement Friday, Madigan’s office said it received a complaint in 2018 about alleged sexual harassment by a former state representative, investigated and found the complaint credible. Madigan’s office said appropriate law enforcement agencies were informed in 2019.

State police contacted the office last week, the statement read, asking that the investigatory file be turned over.

“On Jan. 29, 2020, the Illinois State Police executed a search warrant at the office to expedite receipt of documents related to the allegations, and documents were immediately provided,” the statement said. “In addition, the alleged victim was notified of the search warrant the following day.”

The Illinois State Police refused to comment on its investigation. Franks served in the Illinois House from 1999 to 2017.

“Since [April], I’ve heard nothing from the speaker’s office about the matter, and I know nothing about a search warrant,” Franks told the Sun-Times. “I haven’t been contacted from anyone about any matter, other than that letter nine months ago.”

The allegations involving Franks are the latest concerning sexual harassment that have embroiled Madigan’s office.

An investigation of sexual harassment in the office found that control has been too centralized and discourages complaints about mistreatment. A report Madigan ordered that was released in August found sufficient evidence to back up one complaint that Madigan’s former chief of staff, Timothy Mapes, made inappropriate sexual comments and intimidated employees.

• The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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