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State lawmaker resigns after ex-girlfriend’s accusations

By Monique Garcia and Rick Pearson • Aug 2, 2018 at 2:00 PM

CHICAGO — An Illinois House Republican lawmaker who had been appointed to the General Assembly’s sexual harassment task force resigned Wednesday following his ex-girlfriend’s allegations of improper sexual activity online, House GOP Leader Jim Durkin said.

State Rep. Nick Sauer, of Lake Barrington, was accused by an ex-girlfriend of sending nude photos of her to other men online, according to a report from Politico published Wednesday. The ex-girlfriend has filed a complaint about the matter with the Chicago Police Department and the Office of the Legislative Inspector General, Politico reported.

In a resignation letter, Sauer wrote that he decided to resign “as a result of the allegations” by “a former girlfriend.”

“After speaking with my family, I feel it best to step away from my public responsibilities,” the letter reads.

The Chicago Tribune’s attempts to reach Sauer on Wednesday morning were unsuccessful. Inspector General Julie Porter said she is “not able to talk about current investigations, including whether or not a complaint has been filed.”

“The allegations that have come forth against Representative Nick Sauer are troubling. He will be resigning from office today. We should allow the proper authorities to conduct their investigations,” Durkin said in a statement.

Gov. Bruce Rauner said Sauer resigning is “the right thing to do.”

Sauer, a first-term lawmaker seeking re-election this fall, is a member of the House Sexual Discrimination and Harassment Task Force. The group was impaneled late last year in the wake of increasing sexual harassment allegations at the state Capitol.

“These are very serious allegations and Representative Nick Sauer has made the right decision to resign his seat in the Illinois House of Representatives,” said state Sen. Dan McConchie, R-Hawthorn Woods.

Sen. Melinda Bush, a Grayslake Democrat who co-chairs the Senate’s Sexual Discrimination and Harassment Awareness and Prevention Task Force, said in a statement that she thought Sauer’s alleged actions violated the state’s “revenge porn” law.

“Democrat or Republican — this behavior is inappropriate and unbecoming of someone elected to serve the public. I applaud the Illinois Republican Party for calling for Rep. Sauer’s resignation; I hope he will do the right thing and step down immediately,” Bush said in a statement.

The allegations against the Republican lawmaker follow a string of complaints from women about the behavior of men at the Capitol, particularly Democrats.

Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan’s longtime chief of staff, Tim Mapes, resigned this summer hours after a House employee said she endured harassment by the powerful politician’s longtime top aide.

In October, victim rights advocate Denise Rotheimer accused state Sen. Ira Silverstein of using her advocacy for a crime victim rights bill as an opening to pursue a personal relationship.

The temporary inspector general concluded that Silverstein had acted in a way that was unbecoming of a lawmaker but that the case did not rise to the level of sexual harassment.

In February, the Chicago Tribune disclosed sexual harassment allegations from Alaina Hampton, who was working on Democratic House campaigns and had received aggressive and inappropriate text messages from Kevin Quinn, a top aide in Speaker Madigan’s political organization. Madigan then ousted Quinn, the brother of Alderman Marty Quinn, the point man in the speaker’s 13th Ward.

Rauner has denounced the “culture of abuse” in state government and sought to blame Madigan. The governor in 2015 appointed Sauer to the Illinois Tollway board but still aimed remarks at an unrelated event Wednesday at the speaker, his chief political nemesis.

“There’s no culture that I’ve created. Madigan, in the legislature, has created a culture of abuse,” Rauner said. “People all around him have had to resign because they’ve been caught. What’s clear is Madigan has hidden accusations.”

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©2018 Chicago Tribune

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