KUNC’s Bente Birkeland breaks the latest news in the growing and sordid story of sexual harassment in the Colorado General Assembly: a formal complaint filed against GOP Sen. Randy Baumgardner of Hot Sulphur Springs.
It’s been a long time coming:
A former legislative aide has filed a sexual harassment complaint against Republican state Sen. Randy Baumgardner for inappropriately touching her.
The woman alleges that Baumgardner of Hot Sulphur Springs slapped and grabbed her buttocks about four times over a three month period during the 2016 legislative session when she worked at the State Capitol. She alleges that each incident happened inside the Capitol building during her workday, often while she was walking through a corridor next to the Senate Chamber.
She wishes to remain anonymous out of fear of retribution. The formal process allows the complaint to remain private.
Birkeland confirms something we had already heard, in fact well before the present controversy over widespread sexual harassment at Capitol has been in the headlines–Sen. Baumgardner’s alleged treatment of women was no secret, and he is one of the men who women of all occupations in the building warned one another to keep their distance from.
“I just thought this was something you had to push aside. I always knew he was someone to stay away from,” [the legislative aide] said. “He’s just unsavory. They’re like, that’s how he is. It’s very well known.”
But when we reported on Nov. 16 that a separate woman, intern Megan Creeden, allegedly had many uncomfortable encounters with Baumgardner during the 2016 legislative session, she said she was outraged and decided to file a formal complaint.
It’s gross. And it’s no secret.
Despite this, during the 2017 legislative session, Sen. Baumgardner served at the chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee and the vice-chair of the Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Energy Committee, and vice-chair of the joint Capital Development Committee. The common knowledge of Sen. Baumgardner’s alleged treatment of women subjects Senate leadership to every bit of the criticism that has been directed at House leadership for failing to punish Rep. Steve Lebsock–even more so, since in Lebsock’s case a process was followed to resolve the prior complaint against him.
That’s a nice way of saying that as of now, armchair morality czars are on notice–to call for resignations in Senate leadership like they’ve maligned the first Latina Speaker of the House, or to (our preference) knock off this hypocritical headhunting and senseless victim blaming.
Because the only ones responsible for these violations are the men who can’t keep their hands to themselves.