Rotheimer feels shut out of sexual harassment debate
Denise Rotheimer doesn’t like feeling the way she does as her allegations of sexual harassment stand at the center of the ongoing scandal in Springfield.
“I have no rights, and it’s scary to be put in the position I was in back in 2003 when my daughter was raped,” Rotheimer, now a victims-rights advocate, said during a recent appearance on the “Chicago’s Morning Answer” radio show on WIND, which is co-hosted by Dan Proft, principal of Local Government Information Services, which owns this publication.
“I don’t want to go through that kind of trauma of being railroaded again,” Rotheimer said.
Rotheimer said she has not been called to appear before the task force convened to investigate all the outstanding allegations of harassment filed over a two-year period when the position of legislative inspector general went unfilled, nor has she been allowed to sit in on the proceedings because her complaint against state Sen. Ira Silverstein (D-Chicago) is still an active case.
Rotheimer previously told the Chicago Tribune that she is convinced the whole system for investigating complaints needs to be reworked, and she has no confidence in the current apparatus.
“Back in November 2016, I went directly to (Senate President John) Cullerton’s (D-Chicago) office,” she said. “I was silenced until I testified for Senate Bill 402 on Halloween.”
Representatives for Cullerton have since indicated the issue was reported to the inspector general’s office for further investigation.
Rotheimer added she also is convinced her complaint may have never seen the light of day had she not gone public with it.
“All spring session, there was no intention of filling the vacancy,” she said of the inspector general post that was recently filled by former federal prosecutor Julie Porter. “It was only because I spoke out that they had no choice. I had no impression they took my complaint seriously.”
According to the Tribune, Rotheimer insists that Silverstein took advantage of a situation in which the two were working on the same bill to forge a personal relationship with her.
Rotheimer is on record in asserting that Silverstein regularly reached out to her on Facebook, and routinely called and texted her late at night before turning cold and threatening to kill the bill after he came to think she had a boyfriend.
Silverstein has denied the allegations, though he has stepped down from his leadership post within the party.
“We should both have the right to due process,” Rotheimer said. “I did absolutely nothing wrong. I would like to see a fair playing field. Let me have an opportunity where I am heard.”
Rotheimer this week withdrew from the GOP race for the seat held by Rep. Sam Yingling (D-Round Lake) in the 62nd House District.