Ruth to oversee latest in series of suits against township and former supervisor
Madison County Circuit Judge Dennis Ruth will preside over a recently filed battery case against Saline Township and its former supervisor.
The suit is one of several filed this year by women who accuse former Township Supervisor Alvin Steiner of groping and molesting them when they came seeking utility and other aid.
Plaintiff Melanie Hedlund is the most recent plaintiff to file suit. Her lawsuit was filed Feb. 17.
Plaintiff Elizabeth Watkins was the first woman to file suit against Steiner and the township, filing her Madison County suit in January.
Another suit also is pending, filed by plaintiff Jamie Miener in Madison County Feb. 9.
In the most recently filed complaint, Hedlund is seeking damages in excess of $50,000 per count of the suit.
In her complaint, Hedlund alleges that Steiner grabbed her breasts and undressed in front of her, showing his "private parts."
After the plaintiff rejected his advances, Hedlund claims Steiner implied that he would terminate her utility aid if she told anyone about what he had done.
According to the Feb. 17 complaint, Steiner told Hedlund, "go ahead and report me, you'll be the one that goes down."
The advances continued through 2009 when Hedlund met with Steiner on several occasion about the aid, according to the suit. At more than one meeting, Steiner allegedly masturbated while touching the plaintiff.
Steiner resigned as township supervisor in November 2009 after eight years in the post.
Hedlund's claims are nearly identical to the other women's.
Ruth received the assignment to oversee the Hedlund suit earlier this week.
The suits brought by Watkins and Miener are assigned to Circuit Judge Andy Matoesian.
Hedlund is represented by Peter Maag of Breese.
Watkins is represented by Thomas Maag of Edwardsville. He also represents Miener.
The Hedlund case is Madison case number 10-L-178.
The Watkins case is Madison case number 10-L-031.
The Miener case is Madison case number 10-L-145.