Illinois senator removed from position following sexual harassment allegations

On Wednesday Illinois Senate President John Cullerton made the announcement that Illinois State Senator Ira Silverstein has resigned from his position in the Senate Democratic Leadership team following the accusations against him of sexual harassment.

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On Tuesday, Denise Rotheimer a legislative activist, testified in front of a senate panel, she recounted a time when Ira Silverstein made inappropriate comments at her. The two worked together once on legislation.

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Silverstein did apologize for making Rotheimer uncomfortable. However, according to The Chicago Tribune, Silverstein has also disputed the allegations, “if I made her uncomfortable.”

The dramatic revelation came out Tuesday at a hearing in front of the House Personnel and Pensions Committee.

This is the first time a woman has come forward and named a lawmaker since allegations surfaced last week of widespread sexually harassment in the state capital. Tuesday’s allegations give more momentum to efforts to change the culture.

Cullerton took the opportunity to schedule a sexual harassment awareness training seminar for senators next week.

When the two of them were working on the legislation, Rotheimer was told to she’d be appearing with Silverstein on a cable access program. While he never directly propositioned her or touched her inappropriately, she felt it was her bill that Silverstine approved as a power move and ulterior motives.

“What I dealt with, Silverstein, I ended up six weeks in a crisis, I lost 20 pounds, my hair fell out, I was so scared that I would have to admit myself into a hospital because I went down to like 109 pounds,” Rotheimer said.

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Silverstein is married to Chicago Ald. Debra Silverstein (50th Ward)

Silverstein declined to go on camera Tuesday, saying he did not want to fight this out in the media. He adding he would wait for the Ethics Commission to issue its report.

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