Another suit filed against former Saline Township supervisor, township

Amelia Flood Mar. 2, 2010, 5:38am

Another lawsuit has been filed against Saline Township and its former supervisor over alleged molestation.

The defendants have already been sued by three other women claiming former Township Supervisor Alvin Steiner molested them when they came seeking utility and other aid.

The suit is the fourth filed in less than two months against Steiner and Saline Township.

Steiner denied the charges laid out in the first suit, according to an answer he filed Feb. 19. He has not filed answers in the other three cases.

The township has not filed answers in any of the cases.

The original two suits alleged misconduct.

The last two, including the newest suit filed March 1, allege battery.

In the March 1 suit, plaintiff Laura Barry alleges that Steiner groped her butt and other body parts in encounters she had with him when she came seeking utility aid from the township. Eventually, Barry quit taking aid.

"Due to the repulsive and offensive nature of Steiner's conduct, Plaintiff stopped actually receiving her assistance in or about April 2006," her complaint reads.

After she lost her job in the summer of 2009, she contacted the township offices again about aid but decided not to pursue it when she understood she would again have to deal with Steiner.

The complaint also alleges that other township employees knew what was going on and did nothing to stop the harassment.

Barry is seeking damages in excess of $50,000 and costs per each of her suit's three counts.

Steiner and Saline Township have been sued by plaintiffs Elizabeth Watkins, Jamie Miener, Melanie Hedlund and now Barry in separate cases.

Watkins was the first to file suit Jan. 14.

In the first three cases, the women allege that Steiner touched
their breasts, masturbated in front of them and threatened them with the termination of their utility and other aid if they told anyone about the incidents.

The suits seek damages in excess of $50,000 and costs.

Recently, both Watkins and Miener filed motions asking to change judges. Their cases are currently assigned to Madison County Circuit Judge Andy Matoesian.

Madison County Circuit Judge Dennis Ruth is presiding over the Hedlund case.

The Barry suit is assigned to Madison County Ann Callis.

Watkins, Miener and Barry are represented by Thomas Maag of Edwardsville.

Hedlund is represented by Peter Maag of Beese.

Steiner is represented in the Watkins case by Christopher Swenson of Edwardsville, according to the case file. Edwardsville attorney Mark Weinheimer has filed a waiver of service on Steiner's behalf in the Hedlund case.

No attorney is listed as representing Steiner in the Miener or Barry cases.

Saline Township is represented by Lori Vanderlaan of Wheaton in the Watkins case. Highland attorney Donald Johannes has filed a waiver of service for the township in the Hedlund case.

No attorney is listed for the township in the Miener or Barry cases.

The most recent suit, Barry's, is Madison case number 10-L-219.

The Watkins case is case number 10-L-031.

The Miener case is case number 10-L-145.

The Hedlund case is case number 10-L-178.

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