Nick Sauer, a first-term Republican state representative in Illinois—and who served on the Illinois House Sexual Discrimination and Harassment Task Force—resigned Wednesday over a bizarre sex scandal involving Instagram, nude pictures of his ex-girlfriend, and a “catfishing” scheme, The Chicago Sun-Times reports.
According to the allegations first reported by the political news site Politico, Sauer met Kate Kelly in 2016, through the dating app Tinder. She lived in California at the time, but after about a year, she moved to Chicago so that their relationship could develop in person. The couple later broke up when Kelly discovered Sauer had been cheating on her, she says.
During their long-distance relationship, however, they would often “share very private photos with each other, as many couples do,” Kelly told Politico. But as she found out after the couple split, Sauer was not treating those intimate photos as private at all.
In fact, according to her allegations—which she filed in a complaint with the state Legislative Inspector General as well as in a police report—Sauer had been posting her nude pictures on an Instagram account under her real name.
But Sauer went a step further, according to Kelly’s allegations. He not only posted her privately shared photos, but then he pretended online that he was Kelly, and he used her identity to lure other men into sexually explicit online relationships, she alleged.
“Nick would use this account to direct message men with my photos to engage in graphic conversations of a sexual nature,” she wrote in her Inspector General’s complaint. “The men believed they were communicating with me and Nick shared private details of my life.”
Eventually, one of the men who had been sexting with Sauer, believing he was Kelly, discovered Kelly’s real Instagram account and contacted her, informing her of what had been going on, according to the political site Talking Points Memo.
By 5 p.m. local time on Wednesday, Sauer—who was in the midst of a reelection campaign—resigned. In his resignation letter, Sauer said only that he was stepping down “as a result of the allegations” by Kelly, without confirming or denying those allegations. Instagram has removed the fake Kate Kelly account allegedly created by Sauer.
The Nick Sauer catfishing scandal comes on the heels of two other “revenge porn” scandals involving politicians. In May, Missouri Governor Eric Greitens resigned after a hairdresser said that he tied her up in his basement and took a nude photo of her for blackmail purposes.
Earlier this month, St. Paul, Minnesota, city council candidate David Martinez was arrested after he posted a semi-nude photo of his estranged wife after she accused him of domestic violence against her.
Photo via Illinois House GOP Caucus Blog