Former GOP Senator Lashes Out Over Latest Harassment Story

State Sen. Larry Crowder (R-Alamosa).

KUNC’s Bente Birkeland reports on the latest case of alleged sexual harassment to hit the Colorado Senate GOP majority–this time an allegation from a fellow lawmaker against Sen. Larry Crowder of Alamosa:

Sen. Larry Crowder, R-Alamosa, is the latest lawmaker to be named publicly in allegations of sexual misconduct.

His accuser, Rep. Susan Lontine, D-Denver, cited two incidents. She said Crowder pinched her buttocks and made an inappropriate sexual comment. She formally complained on Nov. 30, 2017, and in January an outside investigation found the allegations to be credible.

Under the General Assembly’s workplace harassment policy, Senate and House leadership determine the consequences for credible allegations against legislators in their respective chambers. Lontine did not ask for disciplinary action, but outlined next steps she hoped would happen. She asked that he receive sexual harassment training and convey a “sincere recognition of inappropriate behavior.”

At a meeting on Monday (Feb. 5, 2018) attended by Republican Senate President Kevin Grantham and Democratic House Speaker Crisanta Duran, Lontine claimed that’s not what happened. She said Crowder apologized, but did not admit to doing anything wrong…

This latest case brings the number of Republican Senators implicated in the widening scandal over sexual harassment in the Colorado general Assembly to three–but this evening the story took on a far uglier dimension after former GOP Sen. Shawn Mitchell of Broomfield, who has reportedly never even met Rep. Sue Lontine, had what can be best described as a misogynist meltdown over her story on Facebook:

If it was former Sen. Mitchell’s intention to demonstrate sexual harassment by a Colorado Republican, no less than a Republican who served in the upper legislative chamber, mission accomplished. Mitchell’s profane outburst against Rep. Lontine is stunning in its senseless validation of the worst fears and experiences of women in any workplace.

And if Mitchell was hoping to serve as some kind of lightning rod, it didn’t work. The collateral damage for Mitchell’s fellow Republicans from this deplorable behavior will be measurable in votes. Maybe in seats.

For today, though, just shake your head in disgust. And maybe send Rep. Lontine a kind word.

63 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Voyageur says:

    Deeply shameful behaviour by Mitchell, w ho I once respected.

  2. mamajama55 says:

    Mitchell just escalated a fairly minor incident into full blown vicious misogyny. Way to court female voters for your party, Mitchell. I can guarantee that all of the GOP women have also been called "whores", "full of shit", or ugly for daring to disagree or dissent with the prevailing male wisdom.

    Larry Crowder, on the other hand, is one of the genuine nice guys in the southern Colorado legislature. Obviously we don't agree much on politics, but he has made some real efforts towards bipartisan cooperation. Crowder practices governance, not posturing for the most extreme people in the GOP base.

    Had Crowder just acknowledged and apologized for grabbing ass and making some off-color jokes, followed Lontine's request to educate himself about sexual harassment, then Mitchell would have had no fuel to pour gasoline on.

    But we live in a time when no GOP male can acknowledge any sexist behavior, no matter how minor. It's an all-or-nothing, take no prisoners, admit nothing,  blame the victim circus.


    • notaskinnycook says:

      So, Shawn Mitchell is dirt. Tell me something I didn't know. My wife had a couple of run-ins with him a few years ago while working against US Term Limits. She thought he was icky then.

  3. BrownEyes says:

    Mitchell has a long history of harassing women.  I worked at Gold Dome High School when he was there, and it's not a pretty picture.  

  4. Duke Cox says:

    One of the more interesting questions I sometimes ponder is…why do people choose to be Republicans?

    I am sure there are numerous reasons, but most of the ones I imagine are selfish and hateful ones. 

    • Conserv. Head Banger says:

      I'm a Republican because it simply makes sense. And I was raised that way by parents who were traditional, compassionate, common sense, fiscally conservative Republicans.

      I will offer that with pigs like Mitchell & Trump presenting themselves as Republicans these days; and all the religious b.s. that has infested the Party; it is harder to be a Republican.

      But the "free stuff for everybody" far left mentality that infests the Dem party also these days is not attractive either. In a recent post, someone still was lamenting the loss of the health care Amendment, I think 66, couple years ago. If passed, 66 would have tripled my state taxes with no benefit at all accruing to me.

      • ParkHill says:

        Since when has the Republican Party actually been fiscally conservative? Reagan, Bush, Bush and Trump have all exploded the budget deficit.

        What do you mean "free stuff for everybody"? I pay my taxes, and in return I expect certain services from the government.

        I pay into Social Security insurance, therefore I am entitled to Social Security payments when I get older. I pay into Medicare insurance, therefore I am entitled to Medicare health care when I get older.

        Are you against public schools, public universities, public highways, public research into climate change? Yep, those are all "free stuff we get".

        Obviously there is a spectrum between Libertarian, and Socialism. All democracies are some kind of Social Democracy in the middle.

        • Conserv. Head Banger says:

          "free stuff for everybody" = Bernie Sanders platform items.

          • MADCO says:

            But… Bernie wasn't proposing "free stuff"
            His proposals that got the closest were not about 'free stuff' – they were about publicly investing in things that benefit the whole country.

            Including public ed, K-16. Medicare 'for all.' and similar.


            Medicare isn't free. 
            Neither is education.

            For that matter, neither is the airport, the interstate highway system, the US Post Office, the Patent Office, the FCC, etc.

            • Conserv. Head Banger says:

              Bernie proposed free college tuition.

              • mamajama55 says:

                Free tuition like that offered by Norway, France, Finland, Sweden,  Germany, and Slovenia? Mexico and Brazil also have very low-cost university educations.  Add Denmark and the Czech republic to the list.

                And Hillary herself bowed to Bernie's popularity and promised free tuition at state universities and community colleges –  late in her campaign.

                The rationale behind these policies is clear – it's in a country's interest to have a well-educated, skilled population capable of earning a decent income from work.

                Right now, people like myself who took out student loans in the 80s and 90s will be in student loan debt hell well into our retirements. There are teacher loan forgiveness programs, but only for science and math teachers or more recent graduates –  not for middle aged English teachers. What I repay the bank for my loans does not go to stimulate the economy – it goes to bankers that already have gigantic profit margins.

                Free tuition, at least at state run institutions,  looks like a much better option all around.

                • Conserv. Head Banger says:

                  Norway has a population of about 4 million and a sovereign wealth fund of hundreds of billions of dollars thanks to oil revenues. Not a good example. While the US has a 20 trillion dollar national debt being added to this year by the Trump/Ryan/McConnell tax cut for billionaires, with billions more in unfunded pork spending for the military and social programs.

                  Bernie would have made much more sense if he had talked about low cost education at trade schools. The country needs computer techs, repair persons of all kinds, surgical techs, etc., more than we need more liberal arts grads (much as I like the liberal arts–I'm such a grad myself).

                  • mamajama55 says:

                    Germany's population is 83 million. England's is 53 million. Brazil's is 207 million.  Next excuse?

                    I do agree that many students would be better off with trade school degrees or certifications, which would allow them to at least earn a decent income in a short amount of time.

                    I wonder about why you would limit your endorsement of public funds to only trade school certifications.

                    Germany, England, the Nordic countries, Mexico, and Brazil clearly feel that there is value in graduates having knowledge of literature, history, and mathematics, as opposed to "alternative facts".

                    I have an associates degree in passive solar design; right after I got it, the solar credits were sunsetted, so the AAS did not help me to get employed. However, the extensive math and computer courses in the coursework  have stood me in good stead over the years, and many of those community college credits transferred to 4 year colleges.

                  • MADCO says:

                    So the US is too big?
                    325 million vs. over 500 million in the zero (virtually zero) tuition part of the EC


                    I get it – they have oil and trains and stuff.
                    Wait… what?

                    The Swiss system is interesting: complete Swiss High School (they have a different set up) and you have open admission to any Swiss college. 50 euro per year to register, 0.00 The most competitive schools (ETH, Laussane) have no exams in Y1 – until the end, then comprehensive exams for everyone.  If you don't pass – you don't move on.

                    The other European countries vary – France, Germany and Sweden have a competitive application process, most have Y1 exams –  but they all realize that investment in higher ed is a net positive.

                    Yes, Bernie talked about not charging tuition to the students. Not exactly 'free'

                    But let's compare – 
                    the EC (not UK) gets an educated group of youth who are motivated to do well and graduate ready to contribute.
                    The US gets a smaller percentage of educated youth, who mostly graduate with debt (and a fair amount of resentment now since they can;t buy houses and start livin the dream) 


                  • Diogenesdemar says:

                    Wait, wait, wait . . . 

                    . . . You’re saying that Norway somehow taxes their oil industry??????  . . . And, then, they actually use that money to run a budget surplus and provide services and education to their population??????

                    . . . I guess that’s the crazy, wierd un-American stuff you get when you provide college education to your citizens, huh!?!

                • RepealAndReplace says:

                  Will I be reimbursed for the years of college and grad loans I took out and repaid? When I borrowed the money, I knew I'd have to pay it back. Why are millennials different?

                  • MADCO says:

                    a. We learn from mistakes.
                    b. Its become a large and becoming larger negative impact on our overall economy.

                    I recall a time when there was no Social Security, no Medicare, no Medicaid. Hell – I've read that once upon a time only white men could vote.

                    c. things change.


                    • Conserv. Head Banger says:

                      US has an exploding national debt of over $20 trillion, which Germany doesn't have nor Switzerland nor the Scandinavian countries. Brazil has other problems, like corrupt government (which US also has now thanks to Trump). 

              • Old Time Dem says:

                Until fairly recently free, or nearly free, tuition was a feature of many state university systems . That allowed students to graduate nearly debt-free, made high quality college education available to all, and served as a brake on private school tuition.

                So why can't we do today what, historically, was both possible and damn good public policy?


      • notaskinnycook says:

        Sorry to say, CHB, those people left your party and became "U"s a long time ago, if not conservative Dems. My wife was one of them.

    • Voyageur says:

      As Ronald Reagan said, I didn't leave the Democratic Party, it left me.   When I switched to the GOP in 1976, the Democrats had just gone off the deep end in foreign policy, protectionism, and big government.

      Bill Clinton and the DLC brought the party back to earth.  But Norquist "drown government" policies destroyed the base for moderate Republicans and finally, in 09, I reregistered as a Democrat.

      Besides the Tea. Party, the Bible thumping social conservatives drove me out of the GOP.


      • ParkHill says:

        Why single out US Foreign policy in 1976? Are you thinking of when the people of Iran over-threw the Shah installed by the CIA in the 1950s? (Textbook example of chickens coming home to roost.)

        US Foreign policy has been morally bankrupt for decades:

        The Vietnam war in the 1960s sponsored by both parties. The Republican war on Latin American democracy: Military dictatorships installed in Brazil 1964, Uruguay 1973, Chile 1973, Argentina 1976.  Reagan buying weapons from Iran to send to the Contras in Reagan's dirty war on Nicaragua in support of the viscous dictator Somoza, then the dirty war in El Salvador and Guatemala. 

        The 1960s? Well, both parties were war-mongers in Vietnam, but the left-wing of the Democratic Party finally forced the Party establishment to back off. As for the Republicans, I'll never forgive Kissinger's "secret" bombing war on Laos & Cambodia (Not secret from the people being bombed, of course, just from the US people!)

        The Middle Eastern wars of Bush Sr and Bush Jr.

        What war do you suppose Trump will start to boost the Republican elections in 1918?

        Seriously, when was the Golden Era of Us Foreign Policy?

  5. RepealAndReplace says:

    Wasn't Shawn Mitchell the dude who used to fantasize about Morgan Carroll in nothing but her underwear? Why should anyone be surprised by this?

    • Voyageur says:

      I think if you tallied the men who secretly had fantasies about the beautiful and brilliant Morgan Carroll, you'd probably have a census of every heterosexual male in Colorado.

      • Diogenesdemar says:

        Perhaps. That may or may not be true. . . (But, kudos to you for such a “Presidential” defense of Mitchell’s scumbaggery. ;~) . . .)

        Still, you gotta’ admit (?) it takes a special level of pig to voice that out loud, publicly, during an official legislative committee hearing, about its chairwoman . . .

        . . . I will concede from the outset, however, that Mitchell is likely nowhere near as bad as Pol Pot was. 😉

        • Voyageur says:

          It is absolutely wrong to voice such thoughts in a public meeting. As I said, such thoughts should be "secret."

          The thought police should stay in the public sector, and if you goon off in a committee meeting, you are their lawful prey.  Your private thoughts are between you and your Kleenex box.

          The fact is that even Morgan's mom is hot, a savvy, witty, woman.

           i talked with her mom a couple times and enjoyed it immensely.

  6. doremi says:

    So as I remember from committee hearings back in 2000+, Mitchell (then a Rep.) was a sanctimonious religious right family values guy.  Hmmmmm..

    He also had his sights on the Attorney General's position.  Not sure why he didn't run.

  7. Genghis says:

    Ladies and gentlemen, Senate District 23, where trash rises to the top despite the efforts of some to keep it properly tamped down.

    This is utterly unsurprising considering the source. Mitchell is a weeping pustule on the left buttock of humanity.


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