State Rep. Nick Sauer resigns after nude photos complaint

Republican state Rep. Nick Sauer of Lake Barrington stepped down Wednesday, hours after a news story detailed an allegation that he posted nude photos of an ex-girlfriend on social media.

Sauer's resignation was effective at 5 p.m. Wednesday, state House Republican Leader Jim Durkin said in an email to legislators and their staffs.

Sauer couldn't be reached for comment. His Facebook and Twitter pages and campaign websites disappeared Wednesday afternoon.

Politico reported Wednesday that a former girlfriend of Sauer's filed a complaint with the Illinois legislative inspector general's office accusing him of creating an Instagram account under her name and posting nude photos of her to lure men into graphic discussions.

Acting Legislative Inspector General Julie B. Porter wouldn't confirm a complaint was filed.

“I do not comment on issues relating to investigations, including whether or not a matter has been presented to me or is open,” Porter said in an email.

The ex-girlfriend also told Politico she filed a report with Chicago police.

Police officials said they were investigating an “obscenity” report filed July 12 by a 38-year-old woman. A department spokeswoman said the complaint stated a “social media” account had been created using the victim's name and photos.

No charges have been filed.

Reached by email, Sauer's accuser said she didn't want to immediately comment.

The nonconsensual dissemination of private sexual images is a felony under Illinois law.

Durkin called the allegations “troubling.”

“We should allow the proper authorities to conduct their investigations,” he said.

Sauer, 35, was in his first term representing the 51st District, which includes much of central Lake County and a small part of Cook County.

Sauer had served on a legislative task force on sexual harassment. Last year, Sauer co-sponsored legislation designed to require new sexual harassment training for lawmakers.

State Sen. Melinda Bush, a Grayslake Democrat who co-chairs that task force, said the allegation against Sauer “goes beyond harassment and crosses the line between predatory and criminal.” She was among the lawmakers who called for him to resign.

“Democrat or Republican, this behavior is inappropriate and unbecoming of someone elected to serve the public,” Bush said in a statement. “For far too long in Springfield, sexual harassment and abuse from those in positions of power has gone unchecked.”

Gov. Bruce Rauner said Sauer should quit, too.

“That's the right thing for him to do,” Rauner said.

Sauer was elected to a two-year term in 2016 and had been running for re-election this year. Democrat Mary Edly-Allen of Libertyville and independent Jay Murphy of North Barrington also are running.

In a statement, Edly-Allen applauded Sauer's accuser for speaking out.

“It's becoming clear to everyone how important it is that there are serious consequences to violence against women — physical or otherwise,” Edly-Allen said.

Murphy called the allegations “shocking and disappointing.”

Republican party officials have 30 days to choose someone to replace him in the state House, an Illinois State Board of Elections spokesman said. Party officials have until Aug. 23 to name a new candidate for the November election.

Sauer has painted himself as a conservative Republican. His now-deleted campaign website talked of the need for ethical leadership in Illinois.

“Corruption and unethical behavior has plagued Illinois' past, but it does not need to define our future,” the site says. “Nick will work hard to lead by example and make decisions that honor the values of our district and the people he will represent.”

Before joining the General Assembly, Sauer served on the Lake County Board and the Barrington Unit District 220 school board. He's also chairman of the Cuba Township Republican organization.

Sauer's father, Bruce, is a former North Barrington mayor and formerly served as chairman of the Cuba Township Republicans. His mother, Janice, is a North Barrington trustee.

• Daily Herald staff writer Jake Griffin and wire services contributed to this report.

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