Originally published on June 30, 2018 11:03 am
The woman who filed a sexual harassment complaint against Sen. Randy Baumgardner at Colorado's Capitol said her allegations are considered credible by those tasked with investigating them. An outside company, the Employers Council, investigated the allegations on behalf of legislative leaders.
The woman said she learned of the results of the investigation from a Senate staffer on Tuesday (Jan. 30, 2018). The woman said the staffer told her “the evidence suggests there should be a consequence."
The woman, a former legislative aide, has asked to remain anonymous for fear of retribution. The formal complaint process allows for confidentiality.
She told us in November that Baumgardner, a Hot Sulphur Springs Republican, slapped and grabbed her buttocks four separate times during the 2016 legislative session. She alleged that the incidents took place at the Capitol while she worked.
“I hope the decision of the chamber [the Senate] will encourage men and women to come forward with what’s happened to them," she said.
Baumgardner declined to comment when contacted through a spokesman.
Senate leaders will determine any punishment or other consequences for Baumgardner. But those are not immediately clear, and could never be known, depending on how leaders interpret legislative rules that some argue prevent them from discussing -- or even confirming -- formal sexual harassment complaints.
When asked to verify the investigation's results, Senate President Kevin Grantham and Majority Leader Chris Holbert declined to do so. They also declined, when asked, to give a timeline on when, or if, they would make recommendations about Baumgardner.
Senate Minority Leader Lucia Guzman, a Democrat, is also involved in the process of determining consequences.
She declined to comment on specifics but said if there is wrongdoing, she hopes corrective action will be swift.
The complaint against Baumgardner was filed on November 28, 2017.
The legislature convened for the 2018 session in January with Baumgardner as the chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee. He is also the main sponsor of key legislation for the GOP: Senate Bill 1, which addresses transportation infrastructure funding.
Leaders in both parties, as well as Gov. John Hickenlooper, have said that there is no place for sexual harassment at the Capitol and back efforts to strengthen polices, oversight and training. Two other lawmakers are facing formal complaints of sexual harassment. Democratic Rep. Steve Lebsock of Thornton has three pending complaints against him, and Republican Sen. Jack Tate of Centennial has one complaint that is pending.
EDITOR’s NOTE: Republican Senate President Kevin Grantham issued the following statement to us on Feb. 1, 2018, after publication of this article. "We remain bound by confidentiality requirements that exist to protect the integrity, fairness and legality of an ongoing complaint review process, and we are not free to detour from that process simply because someone shares something with the press. If and when we can say something, we will. Until then, we will continue to follow and respect the process."
Capitol Coverage is a collaborative public policy reporting project, providing news and analysis to communities across Colorado for more than a decade. Fifteen public radio stations participate in Capitol Coverage from throughout Colorado.
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