Lang resigns as House Deputy Majority Leader after being accused of sexual harassment
After being accused of sexual harassment by activist Maryann Loncar today -- and a day after he helped pass the Equal Rights Amendment in the state House -- Rep. Lou Lang (D-Skokie) resigned from his leadership role as deputy majority leader.
Loncar said during a press conference that she has been harassed by Lang for years.
“I was harassed, intimated, humiliated and blackballed through all of this process to do greater service for the people that still have to live here,” she said.
Loncar alleged that Lang touched her inappropriately on her lower back, asking her if her husband knew how lucky he was, and has told her he wished she was alone so he could meet her.
“He contacted my ex-husband and said he was going to bury me,” she said.
Loncar said she came forth today because of an unnamed senator she knows who has also been harassed but is too scared to come forward.
“I have been deathly scared of what is coming my way,” she said during a press conference in Springfield.
Amid sweeping national headlines of sexual harassment in the entertainment industry and politics, allegations are par for the course in Springfield, with accusations brought against Sen. Ira Silverstein (D-Chicago) by activist Denise Rotheimer; and against Kevin Quinn, a political operative for House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago), by Madigan’s former campaign aide Alaina Hampton.
At a recent hearing on the Equal Rights Amendment, Lang said when the framers of the Constitution, who were men, wrote the policy they were not thinking of women.
“It is time to give women the respect they are due under the constitution,” Lang, who has served in the General Assembly since 1987, said. “It’s about giving more than half of our population the right to dignity they should be due under the most precious constitution of this country."
Loncar, however, asked where are her equal rights.
“I have everything to lose by coming here in front of all you,” the account executive said, flanked by Rotheimer, and Reps. Jeanne Ives (R-Wheaton) and Rep. Margo McDermed (R-Mokena).
“I stand with those like Maryann, like I stood with Denise,” Ives said, adding that is why HB4840 gives rights to sexual harassment complainants.
She said the accused are silenced by the current unclear process.
“The sexual harassment task force has tidied up some of the business, but not all of it,” Ives said, adding that Legislative Inspector General Julie Porter does not even have to contact the accused.
Ives said Madigan, who has used the hashtag #MeToo and who sponsored the ERA, is known to be a bully to many lawmakers.
“Both in his actions and in his tone,” Ives said, noting it is very intimidating for Loncar to be in front of the entire press corps in Illinois. “That is why we stand here today, because if she were to file a complaint she would get no resolve.”
McDermed said Ives invited her to come to today's press conference.
“Notice there are only two of the reps here today,” McDermed said, adding that other state representatives have admitted to the abuse of power by racial, sexual and political bullying.
“We have to stand up for that,” McDermed said.
Along with documenting all harassment, Loncar said there are witnesses to Lang’s inappropriate behavior, even among the press.
“Many of you who are standing here today have witnessed this behavior,” she said. “You are the press; you see it; this is both sides of the aisle and everyone is responsible.”
Until now, she said she has had no place to go.
“Was I going to go to Speaker Madigan who sits right next to (Lang),” Loncar asked.
She pled for the public to help her, noting she was sure higher-ups were watching the conference.
“I pray that all of you stand by me, and call the governor’s office and Madigan’s office to keep me safe,” she said. “I am somebody's mother, sister and daughter."
Other women harassed are also mothers, sisters and daughters who have been silenced by the power of the untouchables, Loncar said.
“We cannot leave it to (lawmakers') judgment and bills,” Loncar said of the assistance needed by those who are sexually harassed.
Even after being harassed, Loncar said she remained faithful to important causes like SB1294, a bill advocating for farmer’s rights.
“I rolled my sleeves and came back with the farmers, all pro bono (and) all for the citizens of Illinois,” Loncar said.
She said she wishes now that she was not made aware of certain information that has her fearing for her life.
“He (Lang) knew that I knew things that I should not be privy to,” she said.
When reporters accused her of not sharing enough information about why her life was in danger, she told them their incessant inquiry was harmful.
“You are putting me at risk,” she said.
Loncar said the moral compass in Springfield is broken and will remain that way until the people of the state fix it.
When asked if she was going to file a complaint with the Attorney General’s Office, Loncar said of course not, since Madigan’s daughter, who supervises the office, cannot be trusted.
“We are the most corrupt state of all of the states,” Loncar said.