Second suit filed against Saline Township supervisor

Kelly Holleran Feb. 19, 2010, 3:00am

Another Madison County woman claims a Saline Township supervisor attempted to elicit sexual favors from her in return for utility assistance.

Jamie Miener filed a lawsuit Feb. 9 in Madison County Circuit Court against Saline Township and its supervisor Alvin P. Steiner.

Miener is the second woman to accuse Steiner of such behavior. In a January lawsuit, Elizabeth Watkins says she experienced the same advances when she asked for rental assistance.

And, a third plaintiff, Melanie Hedlund, also filed a similar suit Feb. 17.

Like Watkins' complaint, Miener describes herself as "needy" and says she visited Saline Township for help to pay her rent and utility bills.

"That Steiner, after determining that Plaintiff was desperate and in a weak position, when she was applying for, and/or receiving benefits, would place his arms around Plaintiff, and grab her rear and breasts, kiss her, and generally touch Plaintiff in an unwanted and offensive manner," the suit states. "That Plaintiff attempted to rebuff Steiner's conduct, and did not consent in any way."

Steiner allegedly threatened to revoke Miener's assistance if she told anyone about his conduct, the complaint states.

Until October, Watkins continued to require rental assistance and remained forced to deal with Steiner to obtain her money, the complaint says. All the while, Steiner allegedly continued to place his arms around Watkins, to feel her rear and breasts and to attempt to kiss her, she claims.

"On more than one occasion, while the foregoing was occurring, Steiner removed his pants and manually manipulated his genitals while touching Plaintiff," the suit states. "That on one or more occassions, Plaintiff, when confronted with the foregoing conduct of Defendant Steiner, attempted to leave the room in which Steiner was present. That during the foregoing occasions, Defendant Steiner would sit upon Plaintiff, and prevent her from leaving the room."

In an attempt to keep Steiner from harassing her, Miener began bringing friends with her when she obtained the assistance, the complaint says. However, Steiner told her to stop doing so and threatened to revoke her benefits if she refused, according to the complaint.

Eventually, on Nov. 15, Steiner resigned from his post as township supervisor, and now Watkins seeks compensatory damages of more than $200,000 and punitive damages of more than $100,000, plus costs and other relief the court deems appropriate.

Thomas G. Maag of Wendler Law in Edwardsville will be representing her.

Madison County Circuit Court case number: 10-L-145.

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