Estranged Wife of Ex-Madigan Aide Says She Warned of Alleged Abuse

The estranged wife of high-ranking political operative Kevin Quinn told NBC 5 Friday that she sent a letter to Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan's office, desperately seeking assistance and detailing domestic abuse allegations against her husband, more than six months before Quinn was terminated from his role in the powerful Democrat's organization over claims that he had sexually harassed another woman. The abuse allegations were also included in court records.

Sarah McKay provided NBC 5 with a letter she said she faxed to Madigan's chief of staff Tim Mapes on August 3, 2017.

In it, she wrote that she was contacting Mapes because she believed she was "out of options" when it came to their divorce proceedings that began roughly three months earlier.

"I don't think anyone knows the severity of the current situation within our family," McKay wrote. "There have been 3 domestic situations at my home since February, the last on July 5, 2017, resulting in Kevin's arrest."

McKay wrote that she was granted an order of protection against Quinn. The existence of that order and her allegations of physical abuse was verified by court records obtained by NBC 5.

Quinn, 41, was arrested Thursday morning for violating the order of protection, according to Evergreen Park police. Quinn was taken into custody at his home in the 10300 block of South California Avenue at around 8:40 a.m., authorities said, after sending text messages to the protected party in violation of that order on Feb. 10.

Quinn's arrest came just days after a former Madigan staffer came forward with allegations of harassment against Quinn - whose termination had been announced the day before.

Now, the question remains: What did Madigan know and when did he know it?

"I reached out, pleading for help and they ignored me - and I have two children," McKay told NBC 5 in a phone interview Friday, saying her interactions with her estranged husband consisted of "verbal abuse, and then it became physical."

"Any intervention would be greatly appreciated but I do understand where your loyalty is," McKay's August letter to Mapes reads. "I hope you understand at this point I have to do whatever is necessary to protect my sons and myself."

"The speaker did not receive letter," Madigan’s spokesman’s Steve Brown said in an emailed statement late Friday night. "A review of possible locations where letter might be sent did not locate it."

Alaina Hampton, a political consultant who worked for Madigan's organization intermittently beginning in 2012, said Tuesday that Quinn harassed her for five months beginning in fall 2016, making multiple unsolicited advances and sending inappropriate text messages at all hours, even after she told him repeatedly that the relationship was strictly professional.

Kevin Quinn, who worked for the speaker for nearly 20 years, is the brother of 13th Ward Ald. Marty Quinn - perhaps Madigan's most senior operative and a figure that Hampton called her "mentor."

Hampton said she reported Kevin Quinn's inappropriate behavior to his supervisor, Ald. Marty Quinn, in February 2017, then sent a letter directly to Madigan himself in November.

"I immediately consulted with my attorney, Heather Wier Vaught, and directed her to conduct a thorough investigation," Madigan said in a statement announcing Kevin Quinn's termination on Monday. "Ms. Wier Vaught conducted numerous interviews, reviewed the evidence, and recently came to the conclusion that the individual engaged in inappropriate conduct and failed to exercise the professional judgment I expect of those affiliated with my political organizations and the Office of the Speaker."

Madigan said Kevin Quinn was fired from his roles in both the speaker's constituent service office and campaign organization based on those allegations, as well as a guilty plea to a charge of misdemeanor disorderly conduct, which court records show was filed in connection with the July domestic incident McKay referenced in her letter.

Hampton accused Madigan and his associates of attempting to sweep her complaint under the rug and leading her on until the statute of limitations on her case expired. She claimed the organization would not have taken any action had she not spoken to the Chicago Tribune, which published Hampton's account, along with several pages of the text messages in question, Monday night.

Of Hampton's claims, McKay said Friday that she was "devastated to hear what he'd done to her."

"I mean, I was humiliated and felt terrible for her, because I’d been put through the same thing," McKay said.

McKay also claimed that when her estranged husband contacted her on Feb. 10, in violation of the order of protection, he called to tell her that he resigned and was already aware of Hampton's plan to go public with her allegations - a statement directly at odds with Wier Vaught's assertion that the speaker's organization was unaware of Hampton's actions when releasing a statement on Kevin Quinn's termination.

Kevin Quinn, Ald. Marty Quinn and Tim Mapes did not respond to multiple requests for comment. 

Madigan sent a letter to his Democratic caucus members Friday evening, announcing that his political organization has retained an independent counsel who is available to receive and investigate harassment allegations. 

"We haven't done enough. I take responsibility for that. I would never condone, sweep under the rug or refuse to take any step to ensure we did not eradicate any behavior of this kind," Madigan's note, sent on General Assembly letterhead, reads.

"I understand the 'knock it off' mentality is not enough, and we must, and will, do better moving forward," he continued.

"We must do better. We will do better," Madigan repeats. 

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