Rauner 'deeply troubled' by accounts of sexual harassment in Springfield

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Three days after allegations of widespread sexual harassment in Springfield surfaced in a letter circulated on Facebook, Governor Bruce Rauner Friday said he is "deeply troubled" by the accounts of women who shared their stories.

"For me it's a good thing that there's more public, overt addressing of the issue, coming out and shining a light on the problem, this is a good thing, long overdue," Rauner said. "And we've got to be aggressive in going after this kind of behavior."

Rauner said his administration has anti-sexual harassment policies in place.

Next Tuesday, House Speaker Michael Madigan will hold a hearing on sexual harassment. He also announced he will be pushing new legislation to require yearly sexual harassment training for all lawmakers, staff and lobbyists.

The President of the Illinois Chapter of the National Organization of Women said while the meeting is a good idea, it's not enough.

"We've seen that 75 percent of complaints in the workplace for sexual harassment receive retaliation, so there needs to be some protections in place so there are no retaliations for women who do choose to come forward," said Michelle Fadeley, president of Illinois NOW.

Political fundraiser Katelynd Duncan, who went public with her stories of sexual harassment in Springfield, said with all the attention being given to this issue, there is hope for change.

"When you speak up about the behavior of a candidate or lobbyist...there are negative repercussions," said Duncan, who founded KJD Strategies.

But advocates said until men are actually held accountable for sexual harassment, change will be slow to happen. Not just in Springfield, but in every other place where it is a problem.
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