Colo. House Democrats Move To Expel Lebsock Over Sexual Harassment Claims

<p>Courtesy of Steve Lebsock</p>
<p>State Rep. Steve Lebsock of House District 34, which includes Northglenn, Thornton, Federal Heights and Adams County.</p>
Photo: Steve Lebsock Headshot - Courtesy
State Rep. Steve Lebsock of House District 34, which includes Northglenn, Thornton, Federal Heights and Adams County.

Updated 2 p.m. -- In a historic move, House Democrats will move to expel Rep. Steve Lebsock, a Thorton Democrat, after a report from independent investigators found 11 allegations of sexual harassment from five women to be credible.

House Majority Leader KC Becker announced the results of the investigation before a hushed crowd on the House floor Tuesday morning.

The last time the House expelled a member was in 1915.

"I have reviewed the report and found the content of the report to be both serious and egregious in nature," Becker said in a letter to House members. "Due to the seriousness of the findings, I am recommending that this body consider, through a Resolution for Expulsion, that Representative Lebsock be expelled from this body. Later today I will be introducing a resolution to that effect and will also be putting a memo on your desks explaining why I am making the recommendation."

"I will be making redacted copies of the Report available to Members to inspect," she added. "No staff, aides or others will be allowed access to the Report and no copies or pictures can be made of the report."

The House will then hold open caucuses on the mater on Thursday. The vote will be held Friday, at which point Lebsock will have a chance to respond before the chamber and the public. A vote to expel him would require two-thirds of all House members -- or 44 of the 65 members.

Lebsock remained defiant after the announcement.

"I'm not guilty," he told a group of reporters. " I have done nothing wrong. I have sexually harassed no one."

Employers Council, an independent law firm, conducted the investigation into Lebosck's conduct at the request of House leadership. Their conclusion has not been made public, which has drawn questions about whether voters will be able to see the reasons why an elected official is being pushed from office.

Becker says Lebsock has not yet seen the report but will receive a copy once it has been redacted. According to the Capitol's sexual harassment policy, known as Joint Rule 38, either Lebsock or his accusers may choose to release the document to the public.

"If members of the General Assembly feel that constituents have a right to know in this situation, then we should change the law to make that the case," Becker said.

House Minority Leader Patrick Neville, a Republican from Castle Rock, had the chance to see the full investigation Monday evening. He said he has concerns and questions about the investigat.ons, but said he was legally bound not to elaborate.

Neville added he is not sure how he will vote on the resolution.

"Without getting those questions answered, I can't tell you what I will decide," he said.

Beckers' decision to bring the resolution also marks something of a split from Senate Republicans. Earlier this month, investigators found Sen. Randy Baumgardner, a Republican from Hot Sulfur Springs, likely groped a former aide in 2016.

Republican Senate Leadership declined to punish him citing "inaccuracies, bias, conflicts of interest, and inconsistencies" in the investigation. Baumgardner voluntarily agreed to resign a committee chairmanship and take sensitivity training.

Since Lebsock likely won't vote to expel himself, House Democrats would likely need eight Republican votes in order to push him from office.

Cassie Tanner, one of Lebsock's public accusers, said such a vote would restore dignity to the chamber.

"This vote will be a message to his victims and all Coloradans that our elected officials hold themselves and each other to high standards of conduct and won't continue to tolerate harassment," she said.