An Illinois state lawmaker has stepped down after an ex-girlfriend accused him of using her name to create a fake social media account and then posting nude photos of her, reportedly as a ploy to lure men into “graphic conversations.”
Rep. Nick Sauer, a first-term Republican, wrote a letter Wednesday to the Clerk of the House of Representatives in Illinois tendering his resignation.
“As a result of the allegations by Kate Kelly, a former girlfriend, I have decided to resign,” Sauer wrote.
“My ability to fulfill my obligations as a State Representative and public servant will be affected by the distraction of addressing these allegations,” he wrote. “After speaking with my family, I feel it best to step away from my public responsibilities.”
According to the Chicago Tribune, “Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner said Sauer’s departure was ‘the right thing to do’ but said his political nemesis Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan has fostered a culture of abuse at the Capitol.”
The newspaper notes, “Sauer, who was appointed by Rauner to the Illinois Tollway board in 2015, is the first GOP lawmaker to be accused of inappropriate behavior amid a recent string of allegations against Democrats that have felled several top Madigan aides.”
Madigan says he has acted quickly every time allegations against House Democrats have occurred, WLS writes.
Sauer, 35, was elected to the Illinois House in 2016. He was “part of the anti-sexual harassment panels formed last spring in both House and Senate to study ways to combat harassment and intimidation amid the resurgence of the #MeToo movement that spelled the downfall of prominent men in entertainment, politics and media and has so far touched only Democrats in the Capitol,” The Associated Press reports.
The state’s House Republican leader, Jim Durkin, called the allegations against Sauer “troubling” and said “we should allow the proper authorities to conduct their investigations,” according to the Tribune.
No charges have been filed against Sauer.
Politico, which first reported the allegations made by Kelly, says that in an official complaint she alleges that “Sauer used the Instagram account ‘to catfish other men using my privately shared naked photos. Nick would use this account to direct message men with my photos to engage in graphic conversations of a sexual nature. The men believed they were communicating with me and Nick shared private details of my life.’ ”
According to the AP, “State law that took effect in June 2015 outlaws “revenge porn,” or the posting of explicit photos without the consent of the photos’ subject. … It’s a felony that carries a penalty of up to three years in prison and a $25,000 fine.”