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Colorado Republican Leader Would Not Vow To Make Sexual Harassment Punishment Public

Posted: February 6, 2018 at 11:17 am by , in Breaking News, Capitol Coverage, Featured, Morning Magazine

Kevin Grantham, the president of Colorado’s Senate, refused to say whether he would make any punishment stemming from a sexual harassment investigation — public. He was asked Monday (Feb. 5, 2018) during a weekly media briefing with Capitol reporters whether he would commit to telling Coloradans any disciplinary action Sen. Randy Baumgardner would face. Baumgardner is the subject of a formal sexual harassment complaint.

“I can’t say one way or the other on that,” Grantham said.

 

Last week, we broke the story that the complaint was considered credible by the independent group that spent two months investigating it. Leadership in the Senate will determine any disciplinary action, it could range from doing nothing, to a private apology or more training, to expulsion from the chamber. Expulsion requires a full vote of the sitting members of the chamber.

“Bottom line is the report came back to the contact person and the results were made known to leadership and at this point we are still in the middle of determining this process and what we are bound to do and must do,” Grantham told reporters. “There’s no set rules on how we proceed.”

Grantham and Baumgardner are Republicans.

The legislature’s legal services office said the consequences may never be known because of the confidential nature of sexual harassment complaints.

We only were able to report on the original complaint because the accuser told us about it.

During the briefing, Grantham added that his goal is to maintain the integrity and confidentiality of the complaint process.

He was also asked if the leadership of the chamber, which includes the Republican majority leader and Democratic minority leader, would help decide the disciplinary action, or whether he would make any decision on Baumgardner alone.

“I can’t say that either; I don’t know,” said Grantham.

We broke the story last November when a former legislative aide filed a sexual harassment complaint against Baumgardner. She told us that he grabbed and slapped her buttocks multiple times during the 2016 legislative session.

We have also confirmed that three formal sexual harassment complaints against Rep. Steve Lebsock, a Democrat, and one against Sen. Jack Tate, a Republican, are still pending.

During the media briefing Senate President Pro Tem Jerry Sonnenberg of Sterling was asked whether Baumgardner should resign, as the Aurora Sentinel editorial board has called for.

“I’m here to talk about what I think [are] the important issues of the state and that’s roads, rural broadband,” said Sonnenberg. “The president has issued a statement. I have nothing to add with regard to that. Let’s talk about those issues that the vast majority of people want to talk about in Colorado.”

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.