Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania

What Morrison should have told the judge

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By Ray Hanania

When your top employee turns out to be an accused pedophile, and is later convicted and jailed, the last thing you want the public to see is the letter you wrote urging leniency so he can continue doing your work.

That’s basically what Cook County Commissioner Sean Morrison did when he learned that his senior vice president, Anthony Martin, had been accused of sexually harassing a 14-year-old girl during a pool party at Morrison’s home.

Morrison, president of Morrison Security where Martin worked, sent the letter to Judge John Hynes on Oct. 2, 2014. By then, Martin faced possible jail time but Martin’s lawyer was trying to get him probation with court-supervised alcohol treatment.

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Ray Hanania

Several in the police and court records said they knew Martin liked little girls, so it’s not like it was a secret.

Morrison defended Martin saying he was an employee for over 10 years. Morrison called him “instrumental in running my business.” Morrison said Martin manages 450 of the company’s 800 employees, and was the “direct contact and account executive” for many national clients located in Wisconsin, Indiana, Colorado, Nevada and Florida.

“Due to his position with my firm, the trust I have in him and his long tenure with me, one of his core functions is to be the traveling executive for the company, he must be able to travel,” Morrison wrote in the letter on his company stationary that he signed as CEO.

Martin finally faced sentencing after the case dragged through the courts. He was expecting probation and a court-supervised alcohol abuse treatment program so that he could avoid a criminal conviction on his record, the Sun-Times wrote.

What do you think happened 19 days later after Morrison sent the letter to the judge? Martin was again arrested, this time while in Colorado on Morrison Security business where he allegedly sexually harassed another 14-year-old (who turned out to be an undercover Colorado police investigator).

In a statement published by the Sun-Times (you can read all the documents at hanania.com), Morrison claimed he encouraged Martin’s arrest and prosecution when he learned that he had sent “a very inappropriate text message to the teenage daughter of another employee.”

Of course, it wasn’t one text. It was a series of texts sent over several days (that you can read online.) Morrison claimed he didn’t fire Martin because he said his attorneys believed Martin would have a basis for “a wrongful termination” against Morrison’s company.

If you thought what he did was wrong, why even write the letter to the judge? Why not find someone out of your 800 total employees to take his place and suspend Martin until the court case was decided?

Many said they knew he liked little girls. And it was at your home at a pool party with employees from your company. Right under your nose.

Your official moral indignation against Martin, which only came after he was arrested for the second incident, is so shallow and demonstrates how poor a leader you are.

I would have written an entirely different letter like this:

“The charges against my senior vice president are disturbing and reprehensible. I am so sorry that a 14-year-old girl who was at my home at a pool party I hosted was sexually harassed by my senior vice president. I am embarrassed by it, and I believe that when convicted, he should be given the harshest possible sentence. I offer my sincere apologies to the young girl and to her mother, especially because it happened on my watch on my property and at an event I was hosting. Your Honor, please ensure the victim gets the justice she deserves by punishing Mr. Martin to the fullest extent of the law.”

But of course, we know you didn’t write that. And it happened again, right after you sent your lenient letter urging Martin be allowed to continue his work and travel for your company and for your benefit.

Shame on you, Sean Morrison. You claim to be an investigator. Why didn’t you do your own investigation?

Sexual harassment is a terrible crime. Sexually harassing a child is even worse. It demanded a tougher statement, one that was not sympathetic to the suspect, and that you were clearly incapable of writing.

Check out Ray Hanania’s columns and political podcasts at hanania.com

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