BLOOMINGTON — A former McLean County prosecutor for sexual assault cases has been accused of sexual harassment by former Assistant State's Attorney William Layne Roberts.
Roberts filed the lawsuit in federal court in Peoria.
Roberts was hired as an assistant state’s attorney in 2016 to prosecute misdemeanors. His lawsuit accuses his then-supervisor, Kristin Alferink, who led the McLean County Sexual Assault Task Force, a multidisciplinary team focused on tackling issues related to the investigation and prosecution of sex crimes.
“Alferink’s campaign of harassment and retaliation began in December 2016 and continued — escalating over time in frequency and severity — through December 2017,” the lawsuit states. “Alferink also has a history of misusing her authority and supervisory position within the McLean County State’s Attorney’s Office in order to sexually harass men at work.
In several different ways, the McLean County State’s Attorney’s Office knew and should have known about Alferink’s propensity to sexually harass men at work.”
Also named in the lawsuit are Judge Jason Chambers, who was state’s attorney at the time; current State’s Attorney Don Knapp; and McLean County. Knapp was not associated with the office at the time and is named only in his official capacity.
“Neither the county, nor any of the parties, to my knowledge, have even been served with this lawsuit,” Knapp said Thursday. “Given that fact and the nature of pending litigation, it would simply be irresponsible of me to make a comment at this time.”
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“I would love to comment,” Chambers said, “but the law is very important to me and I am prohibited from making statements on pending litigation.”
Alferink, now with the Champaign County State's Attorney's Office, did not return messages from The Pantagraph. Roberts could not be reached for comment.
The lawsuit alleges that one occasion, Alferink entered Roberts' office, closed the door, grabbed him and attempted to kiss him. A day after reporting the incident to Chambers, the lawsuit said, Roberts received a text from Alferink stating, “You need to spend time this weekend seriously looking for a new job.”
According to the lawsuit, Roberts also accuses her of threatening to do physical harm to him.
Roberts was terminated Nov. 29, 2017, he said in the lawsuit, “for pretextual reasons.” He is not alleging his termination was a result of complaints against Alferink.
The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages.