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updated: 11/2/2017 6:16 AM

State senator: 27 mystery harassment complaints against state lawmakers

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  • From left, Jasmine Jimenez, Denise Rotheimer, Lake County State's Attorney Michael Nerheim and state Sen. Ira Silverstein talk about a bill to amend the Crime Victims Compensation Act in February 2016. Rotheimer, an Ingleside activist, has accused Silverstein, a Chicago Democrat, of sexual harassment.

      From left, Jasmine Jimenez, Denise Rotheimer, Lake County State's Attorney Michael Nerheim and state Sen. Ira Silverstein talk about a bill to amend the Crime Victims Compensation Act in February 2016. Rotheimer, an Ingleside activist, has accused Silverstein, a Chicago Democrat, of sexual harassment.
    Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

  • Lake County State's Attorney Michael Nerheim, left, and state Sen. Ira Silverstein discuss a proposal to pay crime victims' legal costs in February 2016.

      Lake County State's Attorney Michael Nerheim, left, and state Sen. Ira Silverstein discuss a proposal to pay crime victims' legal costs in February 2016.
    Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

 
 

State Senate President John Cullerton has dropped Sen. Ira Silverstein from his Democratic leadership team a day after a victim rights advocate launched explosive sexual harassment hearing accusations against Silverstein.

Also Wednesday, state Sen. Karen McConnaughay, a St. Charles Republican who sits on the Legislative Ethics Commission, argues that the General Assembly typically acts much more slowly -- if at all -- in investigating such allegations. And she said she's learned of up to 27 separate complaints against members of the Illinois General Assembly, though the details about them are not known.

Silverstein, a North Side Democrat, resigned from the Majority Caucus chair post as Cullerton was planning to remove him, Cullerton's spokesman said. Silverstein had been paid a $20,649 annual stipend for serving in that role.

Denise Rotheimer, an Ingleside activist, testified before a House committee Tuesday that Silverstein used "power" and "mind games" with her as she tried to advance legislation to help crime victims pay for legal care. Rotheimer told the Sun-Times Silverstein would call her frequently at all times of the day, while also making comments about her appearance. The two also shared constant Facebook messages.

• For the complete story, visit chicago.suntimes.com.

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