CHICAGO (CBS) — State Sen. Ira Silverstein was cleared of sexaul harassement but violated ethics rules by behaving “in a manner unbecoming of a legislator,” the state’s inspector general said.
Denise Rotheimer, founder of Mothers on a Mission to Stop Violence, had detailed a pattern of harassment by Silverstein, accusing him of invading her privacy.
“He would Facebook me at midnight, call me at midnight,” she said during a commitee hearing on the subject in October. “You have no idea the torment.”
Rotheimer helped author a 2011 law to increase penalties for violent sex offenders. She said she was working with Silverstein to pass legislation to help crime victims get free legal representation during ongoing criminal cases, when the senator killed the bill because he thought she had a boyfriend.
“Once I explained to him I don’t have a boyfriend, my bill came back alive,” Rotheimer said at the hearing.
Rotheimer said she felt like she “had no control in the situation” because of the senator’s power to move or block her legislation. She said she asked her local state’s attorney to take her place in writing the bill, because she couldn’t take Silverstein’s behavior anymore.
“He had so much power over me, and the mind games he played, the tactics he played, and he knew this is my heart,” she said.
Rotheimer claimed Silverstein would tell her things like, “You look like a movie star. I like having meetings with you, because you’re pretty to look at.”
While Silverstein may be cleared, the inspector general did say the lawmaker’s conduct was unbecoming of a legislator.
In a statement, Silverstein said “I feel very grateful that we have an independent Inspector General who saw the facts for what they were. My priorities now are my family and my re-election.”