Ira Silverstein, Denise Rotheimer
Denise Rotheimer’s rage quickly turns to sorrow when she talks about the new PAC recently formed to support former Democratic Sen. Ira Silverstein in his bid to become a Cook County judge.
“All something like today means is more people are going to be sacrificed with this guy sitting in the court as a judge,” Rotheimer told Chicago City Wire. “I feel really bad because other women who go through this are going to have the message you can’t really win; somehow, some way, they’ll put these people back in the system.”
A longtime and well-known victims’ right advocate, Rotheimer came forward in 2017 to accuse Silverstein of repeated unwanted sexual advances that came about while the two were working together on legislation for sex crimes victims. At one point, Rotheimer, who began working on such legislation and founded the Mothers On a Mission to Stop Violence group after her then-11-year-old daughter was raped, claimed Silverstein pulled the plug on the bill altogether because he thought she had a boyfriend.
“Now we have Silverstein running for judge of all positions,” she said. “For people like me, this is a big slap in the face. Now you’re going to have him sit on a bench and be called ‘your honor,’ a person who has no morals, no loyalty to his own wife, religion or children. For me, it’s entirely frustrating that in never goes away, never stops, never ends.”
Rotheimer first filed her complaint against Silverstein with the Inspector General’s Office in 2016, but at the time there was no legislative inspector general. Later, Julie B. Porter was installed in the role, arriving to find as many as 27 complaints awaiting her, some of which had languished for the entire two years that the Inspector General post was left vacant. It was unclear how many of those complaints concerned accusations of sexual harassment.
The PAC supporting Silverstein has installed Donald Hodgkinson and Brain Alexander as Chairman and Treasurer, respectively. Hodgkinson is a senior partner with the law firm of Swedberg and Hodgkinson, while Alexander is a partner with the firm of Alexander Grossman.
“They can continue their sham in the courts, devastating people’s lives so they can get the win that they feel entitled,” Rotheimer said. “Everybody else can just go to hell.”
Silverstein, who served eight years in Springfield, lost his reelection bid in the 8th District to Ram Villivalam, garnering 30 percent of the vote.