County Council Approves WC Claim For Public Defender Accused Of Stalking

02 Dec, 2019 Liz Carey


Rock Island, IL ( – A former employee accused of stalking a co-worker in the Rock Island, Ill., public defender’s office has settled with the county for claims stemming from a carpal tunnel injury.

Ronna Baney claimed she suffered repetitive trauma to both her left and right hands causing bilateral carpal tunnel injuries, requiring bilateral decompression surgeries. For that claim, she received more than $32,000 of which $376 was paid in medical bills, $6,551 was paid to her attorney and the remaining $25,829 went to Baney herself.

According to court documents, the agreement is a “compromise settlement” to avoid further litigation. In combination with another settlement, the agreement says the county and public defender’s office are not liable for her injuries, but settled the case on the condition that Baney agreed to no seek employment with the county again and that Baney waived her rights to further medical treatment for her injuries.

Baney retired from the public defender’s office on Oct. 31, 2018.

Prior to retirement, Baney was accused by a co-worker of stalking. Carrie Clark, an assistant public defender in the office, alleged that she was informed Baney was accessing Clark’s work computer regularly and reading her messages.

Clark filed for an order of protection from Baney, asking for a petition for stalking/no contact against Baney on August 30, 2018.  

"Ronna Baney has been accessing my computer to obtain data from a program used for messaging," Clark wrote in the petition, according to the Quad City Times. "Ms. Jones advised me that Ronna Baney had been regularly reading my messages without authorization from myself. She was relaxing and reading details of my life including my location, activities and personal information in real-time by reading messages on my computer while I was offsite and sending them in real-time regarding my messages and life.

Clark installed a camera to catch Baney in the act. Recordings from that camera showed Baney spending excessive amounts of time accessing Clark’s computer. In the petition, Clark requested that Baney stay at least 500 feet away from her, including at work.

After granting an emergency protective order, the court held a closed door session on Oct. 10, 2018 to lift the order, but the motion was denied. The protective order was extended until Nov. 28.

In April 2019, Clark’s petition was dismissed.

In response, the Rock Island County Council agreed to pay Baney more than $26,000 to settle claims against it. Baney received an additional $6,054 in compensation and $3,036 in wage and benefits loss, while another $17,248 was paid to Baney’s attorney’s office – Katz Mowinski PC.  Baney was represented by John Doak. Doak did not respond to calls for comment by press time.

According to the Quad City Times, the settlement was related to Clark’s petition and actions that resulted from it.




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    • Liz Carey

      Liz Carey has worked as a writer, reporter and editor for nearly 25 years. First, as an investigative reporter for Gannett and later as the Vice President of a local Chamber of Commerce, Carey has covered everything from local government to the statehouse to the aerospace industry. Her work as a reporter, as well as her work in the community, have led her to become an advocate for the working poor, as well as the small business owner.

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