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An Illinois state Representative who was a sponsor on a number of bills pertaining to sexual harassment has resigned following allegations of sharing someone else's nudes, reports say.
Rep. Nick Sauer, member of the House Sexual Discrimination and Harassment Task Force, resigned on Wednesday following a complaint filed by his former girlfriend Kate Kelly.
In her complaint with the Office of the Legislative Inspector General, Kelly alleged that Sauer had been using nude photos of her to “engage in graphic conversations of a sexual nature,” Politico reports. He allegedly posted the pictures on a fake Instagram account created under her name to “catfish” men. She says he confessed that he had baited eight men for at least two years.
Sauer reportedly resigned hours after the complaint became public, writing to the Clerk of the House of Representatives, “It is important that the citizens of the 51st District be fully represented. My ability to fulfill my obligations as a State Representative and public servant will be affected by the distraction of addressing these allegations.”
Julie B. Porter, Acting Legislative Inspector General, did not confirm or deny that a complaint has been received, and told Oxygen.com that the office is “bound by strict confidentiality obligations.”
Kelly and Sauer reportedly ended their long distance relationship of two years in March, when she found out that he was dating other women. A stranger contacted her on July 12 to notify her that he had been talking to someone “pretending to be Kelly” for months.
Kelly said she tracked down the timeline of the messages that were sent from that account, discovering that the account had been created around the same time they started dating.
“The man that I loved and honored for over two years unfortunately did not exist,” she told Politico in an email. “Until I moved to Chicago to be closer to him, he and I would share very private photos with each other, as many couples do.”
While the case is being referred to as revenge porn, Sauer’s motivations were not immediately clear, especially since the account existed long before the end of their relationship and there is no indication if he intended any kind of “revenge.” It also appears he engaged in sexual conversation with the men he messaged from the fake account.
An alternative term used in such cases “nonconsensual pornography,” which refers to the “the distribution of sexually graphic images of individuals without their consent” might be a better fit, for now.
In Illinois, the “non-consensual dissemination of private sexual images” is a class 4 felony, according to a bill effective as of June 2015. No charge has been filed against Sauer, according to CBS.
Sauer, a Republican, was elected into office in 2016, and was a sponsor on a number of bills relating sexual harassment and abuse.
Sauer’s website was unavailable as of Friday afternoon, and his office did not respond to request for comments.
[Photo: The Illinois State Capitol Building, in Springfield, Illinois seen in May 2012. By Raymond Boyd/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images]