Elizabeth Durrill, president of the club, saw the headlines crawling across the bottom of the screen on CNN, recounts Dorothy Hodges, the club's executive director. Durrill soon placed a call to Cristy Jarvis, program chairwoman.
It was Sunday night, Hodges says. "By noon Monday morning, our program chair had another speaker lined up." She secured Washington Post columnist Bob Levey.
They thought it best to be prepared, Hodges says. "It sounded like it was not very good news, and we didn't know what [Greene] would be doing."
The age of consent in Illinois is 17, and some of the Tribune's readers have questioned whether Greene should have been dismissed. The newspaper disagreed, citing its ethics and standards policy.
The Post's Levey, who knows Greene, has talked about the issue online with readers. "I am really confused by the approach of the Chicago Tribune," Levey says. Executives say they're defending journalism, he says, yet they are "not answering the basic factual questions."
Greene, now 55, acknowledged meeting the girl in connection with his job. In his column, which is syndicated in more than 100 newspapers, he discussed social and family issues. Among his books was the best seller "Duty: A Father, His Son, and the Man Who Won the War."
Last week Greene called Hodges. He was "most apologetic," she says. "He was calling to see if we were waiting to hear from him, or if we had gotten someone else. And he said he was so sorry that he let us down." It was a "pleasant conversation," she adds.
As in his column, Levey plans to offer an "ear-to-the-ground" look at Washington in his speech on Oct. 7 at the club's Bolling-Haxall house.
Other headliners in the 22-speaker series include journalist and author Rick Bragg, designer Charlotte Moss, and U.S. Chamber of Commerce president Thomas J. Donohue. The series is open to members and their guests.
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