Sen. Forby

Rep. Phelps

An Illinois Department of Corrections employee who claims to be a Republican filed a federal lawsuit against Illinois State Sen. Gary Forby (D-Benton), State Rep. Brandon Phelps (D-Harrisburg), the Big Muddy River Correctional Facility warden and assistant warden alleging they violated his First Amendment constitutional rights.

Kevin Rousey, a major at Big Muddy located in Ina, Ill., claims he has been retaliated against because of his political affiliations with the Republican Party which is a violation of the First Amendment.

Ina is a small town in Jefferson County, south of Mt. Vernon.

Rousey claims Warden Robert Hilliard, Assistant Warden Jay Merchant and the elected officials are all affiliated with the Democratic Party and have retaliated against him by engaging in a pattern of harassment by altering the terms and conditions of his employment due to his affiliation with the Republican Party.

Rousey claims the actions of the defendants have forced him to take a leave of absence from the Department of Corrections.

His complaint does not specify what terms and conditions have been altered but it does state he has performed his duties consistent with the expectations of the Department of Corrections.

According to Rousey, the defendants' actions have caused him to suffer emotional distress and anguish, humiliation, physical injury, pain, embarrassment and damage to his reputation in addition to certain liberties the constitution protects.

Rousey is seeking a mandatory injunction against each defendant prohibiting them from violating the First Amendment, damages in an amount to be determined for economic losses and exemplary damages.

He is represented by John Baker of Springfield.

The case has been assigned to District Judge G. Patrick Murphy.

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Illinois Department of Corrections

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