UPDATE: From Rep. Faith Winter’s statement this week stoutly defending Speaker Crisanta Duran, which carries considerably more weight:
Speaker Duran has done everything correctly. In May of 2016 Speaker Hullinghorst and then-Majority Leader Duran took the allegation seriously, worked with legal services to provide me with legal options and most importantly respected my decisions as a survivor. It was my decision not to move forward with a formal complaint. I worked with leadership to come up with a resolution that I felt most comfortable with. I told him I would go public if I heard of anything else. We thought that the issue had been resolved with the steps that he agreed to, including getting therapy and quitting drinking, and I hadn’t heard of subsequent allegations until last week.
From when I first informed Speaker Duran about the incident to today when I informed her I would be filing a formal complaint she has been very supportive and has also followed all the guidelines as outlined in our workplace harassment policy.
I one hundred percent support the Speaker, and we need to focus on the only person to blame for Steve Lebsock’s actions – Steve himself.
Moments ago, controversial freshman Rep. Dave Williams of Colorado Springs published an op-ed in the Denver Post addressing the recent sexual harassment scandal in the Colorado General Assembly. Williams takes a strident partisan line, affecting great outrage over the supposed failure of House Speaker Crisanta Duran to intervene in Rep. Steve Lebsock’s alleged serial harassment:
Another dark shadow has been cast over the Colorado General Assembly, giving citizens even more cause to “throw the bums out.” Recently, state Rep. Steve Lebsock has been accused of sexual harassment by multiple women, and I for one believe their stories. Because of his own actions, Lebsock has lost the trust of his colleagues and the public and it’s time for him to step down.
But the truth is we would never have arrived at this point if the state House Democratic leadership hadn’t covered up for Lebsock for well over a year. Their silence and mishandling of this issue put at risk other women, for which they must be held accountable.
Sturm und drang, indeed–but since Rep. Dave Williams wrote this opinion sometime before yesterday evening, something happened.
Longstanding allegations of harassment by Republicans in the Colorado Senate, alluded to since the first reports a week ago, were confirmed. In at least one case, Sen. Randy Baumgardner, the allegations were sufficiently common knowledge that it is impossible GOP Senate leadership were not aware of the situation.
With this in mind, we decided to have a little fun with Williams’ bombastic rhetoric search-and-replace style:
Another dark shadow has been cast over the Colorado General Assembly, giving citizens even more cause to “throw the bums out.” Recently, state Sen. Randy Baumgardner has been accused of sexual harassment by multiple women, and I for one believe their stories. Because of his own actions, Baumgardner has lost the trust of his colleagues and the public and it’s time for him to step down.
But the truth is we would never have arrived at this point if the state Senate Republican leadership hadn’t covered up for Baumgardner for well over a year. Their silence and mishandling of this issue put at risk other women, for which they must be held accountable…
Just like Hollywood covering up for Harvey Weinstein for so long, so too has the Colorado Republican Senate leadership indirectly caused abuse of additional victims.
As a state legislator, I realize that the people have given us a sacred trust. They expect us to conduct the people’s business in an ethical and upright manner. That trust has been violated, not only by Baumgardner but also by Kevin Grantham, Chris Holbert, and any other leaders who knew about this, yet did nothing to prevent future abuses…
The archaic days of covering up corrupt and immoral behavior because of political expedience must end, which is why Grantham, Holbert, and anyone else in leadership who knew but didn’t stop it need to resign. [Pols emphasis]
And that, dear reader, is why you wait until both shoes have dropped.