Originally published on June 30, 2018 11:07 am
For the second time in a month, Colorado lawmakers are debating whether to eject one of their own amid allegations of sexual harassment. First, it was Steve Lebsock, the former Democratic representative, who was ousted overwhelmingly in the first House vote of its kind in more than a century. At this moment, in an unexpected move, the Senate is poised to begin similar proceedings over Randy Baumgardner, a Republican senator.
An independent investigation concluded that “it appears more likely than not” that Baumgardner slapped and grabbed a legislative aide’s buttocks multiple times in 2016.
Yet two other investigations into complaints against Baumgardner remain open. They are not expected to be finalized until next week. Our sources have confirmed that preliminary reports have been completed and were sent to the Senate’s top administrator, Effie Ameen, but remain open because Baumgardner has not yet scheduled an interview with the investigator.
“Because I have been trying for so long to schedule a date to meet with him, Effie and I agreed that I should submit a report with my conclusions without his input, which I did on March 30,” an email by Kathryn Miller, an attorney with Littleton Alternative Dispute Resolution, Inc., stated.
Miller is investigating the complaints and said in the email that she has given Baumgardner until April 11 to respond.
One of those complaints is from former intern Megan Creeden. She alleges that Baumgardner made an inappropriate sexual comment to her in 2016 and on a separate occasion pressured her to drink alcohol with him in his office. Creeden said she believes that the Senate should have all the investigative results on Baumgardner before debating whether or not to expel him.
“It’s not as easy to discredit three complaints with two different investigators,” said Creeden.
For weeks, Senate Democrats have conducted speeches on the Senate floor, voicing their support for the #MeToo movement and calling on Senate President Kevin Grantham, R-Canon City, to introduce their resolution calling for Baumgardner’s expulsion.
Baumgardner denies wrongdoing and Grantham has said the investigation was inconsistent, flawed and biased.
Baumgardner also stepped down from a committee chairmanship and agreed to take sensitivity training.
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