Female Activist Expected to Accuse ‘Leading Lawmaker' of Abuse

On the final day of the legislative session a female activist is expected to accuse a “leading lawmaker” of abuse during a press conference in Springfield. 

The 1 p.m. Thursday press conference will include statements from the unnamed accuser and Denise Rotheimer, who has authored several bills connected to victims of crime. 

Rotheimer, who was the first to step forward to accuse a lawmaker of harassment, naming Sen. Ira Silverstein during a sexual harassment hearing last year, said she has been in contact with the alleged victim who will step forward. She called the accusations “a game changer” in the discussion of abuse at the state capitol. 

Rotheimer would not say if verbal or physical abuse was involved, only saying “it doesn’t matter which it is – the culture in Springfield needs to change and nothing has happened” since she first spoke publicly in October. 

There, Rotheimer said Silverstein used "power" and "mind games" against her and made comments about her appearance. The Inspector General for the General Assembly ultimately ruled that while Silverstein made inappropriate "teasing and flirtatious" comments toward Rotheimer, he did not sexually harass her. 

The General Assembly wraps up its regular session Thursday. The next few days will be a flurry of budget discussions as well as proposals for stronger gun laws and school safety. After two and a half years without a budget, it’s believed lawmakers will forward a budget to the governor before the midnight deadline.

The name of the lawmaker allegedly involved has not been released. 

House Speaker Mike Madigan has appointed several lawmakers to a new task force to lead a discussion on harassment, but there has not yet been a public meeting.

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