Speaker details actions taken to address sexual harassment
In February 2018, the Office of the Speaker released a summary of past complaints of discrimination and harassment. That document included descriptions of two allegations involving Travis Shea. Both women were consulted prior to the release and requested confidentiality. To date, neither has given permission to disclose any personal or identifying information.
In 2015 and 2016, Heather Wier Vaught was contacted with allegations of workplace intimidation against Mr. Shea, once in a personal setting, another in her official capacity as the House Democratic Ethics Officer. Each woman alleged Mr. Shea had intimidated them and threatened to “make or break” their careers.
Former Chief of Staff, Tim Mapes, and Mr. Shea’s supervisor, Jessica Basham, were immediately notified of Mr. Shea’s alleged behavior. Mr. Mapes met with Mr. Shea, and he was told the alleged behavior must immediately cease. He was reprimanded and advised such alleged behavior would not be tolerated. Additionally, Ms. Basham met with Mr. Shea and made it clear he was not in a supervisory role and told he would not be given additional responsibilities.
To further determine whether other staff experienced issues with Mr. Shea, or if there were additional concerns that needed to be addressed, Ms. Basham held meetings with each member of the unit and inquired if there were issues they would like to bring to her attention. No other issues were identified at that time.
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House Speaker Michael J. Madigan was not made aware of the allegations. Had the allegations been brought to the Speaker at the time, he would have terminated any employment relationship with Mr. Shea, as he has done on other occasions upon learning of such incidents.
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Hanania also writes about Middle East issues for the Arab News, and The Arab Daily News criticizing government policies in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
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