By James Anderson, Associated Press
A suburban Denver state Democratic lawmaker accused of sexually harassing a fellow legislator and two others should be expelled, Democrats who control Colorado’s state House said Tuesday.
A private, third-party investigation into the allegations against Rep. Steve Lebsock determined they were credible, House Majority Leader KC Becker told lawmakers.
Becker said the findings of the confidential investigation were “serious and egregious in nature” and that she would be introducing an expulsion resolution.
House lawmakers from both parties will caucus Thursday to consider the case before taking up an expulsion resolution. A vote may not happen before Friday.
A two-thirds vote of the 65-member chamber is needed. Democrats have 37 seats, including Lebsock.
The case is one of several involving Colorado lawmakers that were first reported by Rocky Mountain Community Radio .
Lebsock, another House Democrat and a Senate Republican have either been stripped of committee leadership positions or gave them up voluntarily following claims of inappropriate conduct. All have denied wrongdoing.
Both complaints and investigations into alleged misconduct are considered confidential under the Colorado Legislature’s workplace harassment policy.
Becker said she would release a redacted copy of the Lebsock findings to lawmakers.
Lebsock said he would fight expulsion and again denied any misconduct involving fellow Democratic Rep. Faith Winter as well as a former legislative aide and a former lobbyist who also lodged complaints.
“I’m willing to speak with any of my colleagues,” Lebsock said, referring to a 28-page defense he presented to lawmakers about his conduct before the legislative session began in January. He predicted that he would not be expelled.
Winter alleges that Lebsock acted aggressively toward her when she turned down his sexual advances during an end-of-session party in 2016. She said he grabbed her elbow and that she felt threatened.
Lebsock, a candidate for state treasurer, insisted Tuesday that the Democratic Party was lining up behind Winter in her bid to win a state Senate seat this November that could challenge the narrow Republican majority in that chamber.
Rocky Mountain Community Radio also reported that claims against two other Republican members of the GOP-led Senate were found credible but that leadership has not taken action on those complaints.
As Colorado Politics reported in December, the last time a member of the Colorado General Assembly was expelled was more than 100 years ago. Rep. William Howland was expelled for committing perjury in 1915, and it was done by committee report, not a resolution.