SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (KMOX) -- The head of Illinois' Department of Agriculture is stepping down as part of the continuing fallout from a 2012 email -- in which a former lobbyist spoke of a rape cover up.John Sullivan resigned over the weekend at Governor JB Pritzker's request. In an email to WBEZ Radio in Chicago, Sullivan admitted he was in possession of the email in question but didn't read it entirely. A former lobbyist and long-time friend of House Speaker Madigan, Michael McClain, in 2012 tried to intervene in state worker Forrest Ashby's disciplinary hearing -- noting in the email, among other things, Ashby kept quiet about a rape in Champaign.
The newly surfaced email mentioning Sullivan by name, obtained by WBEZ, complained that the hearing would come when Sullivan -- a major Ashby proponent who represented Ashby's state senate district -- was undergoing cancer surgery. Sullivan said in a statement it was a stressful time for him -- he saw that email and forwarded it without reading entirely. But had he known, he would have immediately reported it.