POLITICS

Ex-Employee Of Illinois Treasurer Dan Rutherford Goes Public With Sexual Harassment Claim

FILE - In this Jan. 31, 2014 file photo, Illinois state Treasurer Dan Rutherford, a Republican gubernatorial candidate, speak
FILE - In this Jan. 31, 2014 file photo, Illinois state Treasurer Dan Rutherford, a Republican gubernatorial candidate, speaks at a news conference in Chicago. On Monday, Feb. 10, 2014, a former employee in Rutherford?s office filed a lawsuit at federal court in Chicago alleging sexual harassment and that the Republican gubernatorial candidate made him do political work on state time. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast, File)

A former high-level employee of Illinois Treasurer Dan Rutherford went public Monday with allegations that the Republican gubernatorial candidate sexually harassed him.

The Chicago Sun-Times reports the employee, Ed Michalowski, claimed in federal court that Rutherford made unwanted sexual advances toward him beginning in 2011.

The lawsuit claims that, in 2011, Rutherford grabbed Michalowski's genital area after entering his bedroom. That same year, Michalowski claims Rutherford approached him at a Springfield bar and told him, “If you go home with me you can have anything you want in the office," the Sun-Times reports.

Michalowski further claimed in the lawsuit, which also names Rutherford's chief of staff Kyle Ham, that he was regularly forced to do campaign work for Rutherford's gubernatorial run on state time.

Michalowski, who had remained anonymous until Monday, resigned from his post as Rutherford's director of community affairs last week on the heels of a press conference the treasurer called on Jan. 31. Rutherford preemptively announced he would soon be targeted by what he called politically-motivated allegations from a former employee at the abruptly-called conference, the Chicago Tribune previously noted.

Last week, Rutherford called the allegations "completely false" and said Michalowski's allegations are connected to billionaire GOP gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner. Rauner has dismissed Rutherford's claims as "ridiculous."

The primary election in Illinois is set for March 18, just over a month from Monday's lawsuit being filed.

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