McHenry County lawmakers, candidates call for resignation, investigation into allegations against Franks

  • Jack Franks

      Jack Franks Rick West | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 2/6/2020 9:58 AM

Several lawmakers have called for McHenry County Board Chairman Jack Franks to resign after last week's revelation that the Illinois State Police has been investigating Franks for sexual misconduct and stalking allegations.

The allegations date back to Franks' time as a state legislator. According to a search warrant posted by political columnist Rich Miller, police determined "probable cause exists for the crimes of criminal sexual abuse, criminal sexual assault, official misconduct, stalking and aggravated battery." Franks, who declined to comment Monday, has denied any wrongdoing.

 

The search warrant said ISP was to seize complete personnel, human resources or other files containing information related to allegations of wrongdoing or misconduct by Franks; names and contact information of all prior legislative assistants assigned to Franks; and reports or complaints relating to sexual misconduct, harassment, stalking or other misconduct by Franks and various other documentation.

"I handle myself appropriately," Franks told the Northwest Herald last week. "I've done nothing wrong. I certainly hope people reserve their judgment."

In light of these allegations, several GOP lawmakers have called for Franks' immediate resignation.

"Considering the pattern of abusive behavior, corruption cases that have tainted his caucus for decades, and now these allegations, it is perfectly clear that Illinois and McHenry County need the immediate resignation of both Speaker Michael Madigan and McHenry County Board Chairman Jack Franks," state Rep. Allen Skillicorn, of East Dundee, said in a statement.

State Rep. Jim Oberweis, of Sugar Grove -- who is seeking the GOP nomination in a crowded 14th District primary race to challenge U.S. Rep. Lauren Underwood, a Naperville Democrat -- referred to the allegations as "reprehensible" and "inexcusable" and also called for Franks' immediate resignation.

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"It appears as though Mr. Franks and House Speaker Michael Madigan were complicit in a coverup to protect their power, while further damaging the ability of women to come forward to bring to light the abuses suffered at the hands of those who were elected to represent and protect all of our families," Oberweis said in a statement.

State Rep. Steven Reick, of Woodstock -- who was elected to Franks' former House seat in 2016 -- said if Franks does not resign, everything he does in the role going forward will be tainted by the allegations of abuse.

Reick had his own run-in this year and received court supervision in connection with his May 1 drunken driving arrest.

"I have to wonder why it is that predatory actions that allegedly occurred as far back as 2016 took until 2018 to be communicated to and investigated by the Speaker's office, and why it then took until 'the following year' for law enforcement to be informed of them," Reick said in the statement. "Where will this end?"

Other GOP lawmakers and candidates, including state Sen. Craig Wilcox, of McHenry, called for a thorough investigation.

"Furthermore, (the allegations) betray the trust our residents put in their elected officials and I hope this type of behavior that is said to have occurred in our state's Capitol hasn't been carried back to our County," Wilcox said in a statement. "The residents deserve answers, and the victim(s) deserve justice."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

State Rep. David McSweeney, of Barrington Hills, said he has full confidence in the Illinois State Police and looks forward to the results of the investigation, which he said should be made public.

Mike Buehler, who is running for County Board chairman as a Republican, said Monday it appears to him the Illinois State Police has things under control and he would assume they would ensure a thorough investigation is conducted and that justice is served.

McHenry County Board member Carolyn Schofield, who is challenging Skillicorn in the upcoming primary, said the allegations were very serious and concerning, especially in the midst of statewide ethics issues that seem to be occurring on a daily basis.

Peter Janko of Marengo, who is running as a Democrat in Reick's district, said one of the things he put on his platform as a state legislator is a pledge not to have any closed-door meetings with lobbyists.

"Everything I do would be done with total transparency," Janko said.

Woodstock Mayor Brian Sager, who is running against Janko in the primary, declined to comment Monday.

McHenry County Board member Suzanne Ness, who is running as a Democrat against Skillicorn, could not be reached for comment Monday.

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