Harrison moves hearing in Saline Township sexual harassment suits

Amelia Flood Jun. 28, 2011, 12:58pm

A July 15 hearing has been pushed back in a series of sexual harassment and battery suits brought against Saline Township and its former township supervisor, Alvin Steiner.

Madison County Associate Judge Clarence Harrison II signed an order June 23 granting a move filed by Saline Township to move the hearing due to its attorney's trial schedule.

The hearing on a move filed by the township that seeks the final dismissal of all claims against it and an appealable order is set July 22 at 10:30 a.m.

Six women – Elizabeth Watkins, Jamie Miener, Melanie Hedlund, Laura Berry, Ailie Ritchie, and Tara Reding – filed suit against Saline Township and Steiner last year alleging nearly identical claims.

The plaintiffs allege that Steiner sexually harassed and groped them when they came to the township offices seeking public aid.

They allege that Saline Township took no action to remove Steiner from his post and that it enabled his misconduct.

Both Saline Township and Steiner deny the claims.

Steiner resigned from his position as township supervisor in 2009.

The township won two dismissals of the claims against it with the most recent coming in an order signed by Madison County Circuit Judge Dennis Ruth in January.

Saline Township now seeks the final dismissal of the claims against it and an appealable order.

The plaintiffs have questioned the need for the order, citing mediation they seek to engage in with Steiner and Ruth's previous findings.

The township filed to move the July 15 hearing due to a trial that its attorney, Lori Vanderlaan, is scheduled for at the same time as the hearing in the Saline Township cases.

Thomas and Peter Maag represent the plaintiffs.

Mark Weinheimer represents Steiner.

The cases are Madison case numbers 10-L-31, 10-L-145, 10-L-178, 10-L-219, 10-L-309, and 10-L-555

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