Motions to dismiss sexual misconduct against Saline Township, official moved

Amelia Flood Jul. 9, 2010, 6:00am


A hearing set in a series of sexual misconduct suits against Saline Township and its former Supervisor Alvin Steiner has been moved.

The July 9 hearing has been pushed back to July 19 at 10:30 a.m.

Plaintiffs Elizabeth Watkins, Jamie Miener, Melanie Hedlund, Laura Barry, Ailie Ritchie and Tara Reding claim that Steiner made unwanted sexual advances, groped and threatened the women when they came seeking utility and other public aid.

The suits all seek at least $50,000, punitive and other damages.

Reding's suit, the most recent filing, has not been joined with the other five suits.

The five older suits were joined for hearing purposes.

The defendants claim that they are immune from the suits under the Illinois Governmental Tort Immunity Act.

Saline Township further claims that because Steiner was an elected official, it did not have the power to fire him and is therefore not liable for his actions.

The plaintiffs reject those arguments, citing as an example the impeachment of ex-Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich in their July 2 response to the motions to dismiss.

Steiner resigned from his position with Saline Township last year.

Watkins' case was the first filed in January of this year.

Previous hearings on the motions have been pushed off for scheduling and other reasons.

Thomas and Peter Maag represent the plaintiffs.

William Knapp and others represent the township.

Mark Weinheimer represents Steiner.

Saline Township's insurer has also filed a series of declaratory judgment moves that, if granted, would allow it to decline to cover Steiner in the event of judgments against him.

Madison County Circuit Judge Dennis Ruth presides over all six cases.

The Saline Townships suits are cases 10-L-145, 10-L-178, 10-L-219, 10-L309, 10-L-310 and 10-L-555.

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