Silverstein's accuser to IG: Release investigation into sex harassment before primary

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A woman who brought a harassment complaint about Sen. Ira Rothstein is now raising concerns that the findings could be delayed until after the March 20 primary. (WLS)

The inspector general has concluded her investigation into a harassment complaint against a state senator running for re-election. But now the woman who brought the allegations is raising concerns that the findings could be delayed until after the March 20 primary.

"If I had known this was the process, I never would have bothered," said Denise Rotheimer.

Nearly three months after crime victims' rights activist Denise Rotheimer went public with her harassment complaints against State Senator Ira Silverstein (D-Chicago), she is more frustrated than ever about the process, which continues to drag on.

"It's worse," she said. "I'm in a worse situation now than I was when the abuse was going on, the experience with Silverstein."

Rotheimer accused Silverstein of playing mind games with her while he was the sponsor of some crime victim legislation she was pushing. She testified before a legislative hearing that when Silverstein thought she had a boyfriend, he killed her bill, but restored it after she assured him she was not dating anyone.

Rotheimer says the interim Legislative Inspector General, former federal prosecutor Julie Porter, told her that she wrapped up her investigation on Friday but would be taking no action at this time. Porter would not comment.

Now, Rotheimer believes the Ethics Commission may take no action until after the March 20 primary.

"So I have no reason to believe that anyone is playing politics in particular with this investigation," said State Senator Karen McConnaughay (R-St. Charles).

McConnaughay is on the ethics commission and expressed confidence in Porter's handling of the case.

"Since the day that she was hired by the commission, Julie Porter has conducted herself as a top notch professional," McConnaughay said.

But now Rotheimer just wishes the whole situation would end.

"At this point I don't care what the decision is, what the outcome. At this point I just want to be out of it," Rotheimer said.

The head of the ethics commission State Senator Terry Link said they will be meeting soon and he expects they will be given the Inspector General's report them. But the process allows for Silverstein to respond to any findings before the commission takes any action. Senator McConnaughay believes the process could be improved and be made more transparent.
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politicspoliticssexual harassmentillinoisvictims
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