Originally published on June 30, 2018 11:07 am
Senate President Kevin Grantham, R-Canon City, said in a letter that sexual harassment allegations by a former intern against Sen. Jack Tate, R-Centennial, do not amount to sexual harassment.
“I have determined that corrective action based on this complaint is unwarranted, and that this investigation is therefore concluded,” stated Grantham. He noted that Tate has participated in a mandatory sexual harassment training for legislators and staff, and a voluntary seminar with the Majority Caucus.
The former intern, who wishes to remain anonymous for fear of retaliation, alleged that Tate leered at her and acted flirtatious throughout much of the 2017 legislative session. She was 18 at the time. The Employer’s Council investigated the allegations and concluded on January 31 that the accuser was credible and that Tate’s responses were not.
The intern said Grantham’s decision reaffirms her belief that interns and aides aren’t protected at the state Capitol.
“It would be one thing if I wasn’t proved credible and correct, so it doesn’t make sense for Grantham to back out on a formal investigation which was deemed accurate by a third party,” she said. “It was like I was finally believed and then all of the sudden I wasn’t anymore.”
Grantham’s letter said his assessment of the case differed from the independent investigator and supports a different conclusion. Grantham consulted with an attorney and the Employer's Council and said none of the accusations violate state or federal employment laws.
Grantham said three of the allegations – including nudging her and acting flirtatious, “do not in any way allege a violation of our workplace harassment policy.” He said the other allegation validated by the investigator could be construed as a violation of the policy. Tate was alone in an elevator with her and allegedly said to the complainant “I like the way that skirt looks on you.” But Grantham said the allegation wasn’t consistent and there is no “definitive determination that the policy was violated.”
The intern’s supervisor was Rep. Dafna Michaelson Jenet, D- Commerce City, who said she believes the allegations as reported do violate the General Assembly’s Workplace Harassment policy.
“And it is sexual harassment as was defined in both our policy and our trainings, and if somehow that is not clear then perhaps the trainings we've held have failed,” said Michaelson Jenet. “As a woman, it feels like the message being sent is she is disposable.”
Tate is the third GOP Senator who has been investigated for sexual harassment and had the allegations found credible. Complaints against Sens. Larry Crowder, of Alamosa, and Randy Baumgartner, of Hot Sulphur Springs, were also found more likely than not to have occurred.
Democrats are trying to expel Baumgardner from the Senate, but not Tate or Crowder.
“I don’t know that I would have personally found Tate’s behavior offensive but clearly it was offensive to the victim, and for that reason alone he should have had the decency to acknowledge that and apologize to the victim,” said Sen. Irene Aguilar, D-Denver.
Tate did not respond to our request for a comment on this story, but has previously denied wrongdoing.
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