Ira Silverstein accused of harassment

CHICAGO (WAND) - On Tuesday, Illinois Senator Ira Silverstein was accused of sexual harassment during a House hearing in Chicago. 

During a House Personnel and Pensions Committee hearing, Denise Rotheimer said she filed a harassment complaint against Silverstein last year.  A group of woman were present to discuss sexual harassment they experienced in their political careers in Illinois. 

"He had so much power over me," Oppenheimer said. 

She also said she lost 20 pounds and admitted herself to the hospital over the abuse. 

"I have 400 pages of Facebook messages from the time Silverstein started this invasion of my space, and I submitted it as evidence," Rotheimer said. 

In April, Silverstein killed her bill. Rotheimer said it was because "he thought I had a boyfriend." 

Rotheimer said she reached out for help, but nothing was done. 

"I apologize if I made Denise Rotheimer uncomfortable," Silverstein told NBC 5. "I will await the commission's results." 

Illinois is the latest to join many statehouse that allege sexual harassment goes untouched. The allegations came out last week when an open letter surfaced. The letter described the harassment and intimidation woman felt. 

House Speaker Michael Madigan outlined a plan to stop sexual harassment in state government. He passed the legislation through a House committee. The bill would require all lawmakers, staff and lobbyists to complete annual harassment training. 

“Sexual harassment is unacceptable in any workplace. This is particularly true in our Capitol, a building that belongs to every woman and man in Illinois,” Madigan said. “Legislative changes are a critical step, but far from a final step." 

Madigan's Senate Bill 402 expands existing sexual harassment protections in the Capitol and legislative offices. 

Senate President John Cullerton, and Republican leaders Jim Durkin and Bill Brady have come out in favor of Madigan’s bill.

Madigan also plans to establish a Task Force on Sexual Discrimination and Harassment. It would be chaired by House Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie.

To read more of Rotheimer's sexual harassment testimony click here.