Back in 2012, FOX 31’s Eli Stokols wrote a bombshell story about Sen. Randy Baumgardner-harboring an unregistered sex offender on his ranch–a story that takes on a new and unsavory pallor in light of dogpiling sexual harassment allegations:
FOX 31 Denver has confirmed that Baumgardner, R-Hot Sulphur Springs, is currently harboring an unregistered sex offender in his home, a decision that has his neighbors questioning his own values.
“This is an ignorant, arrogant individual who has no place in public office,” one of Baumgardner’s constituents wrote in an email to FOX31 Denver. “If you are running on morals, then have some.”
Michael K. Frierson, 32, is registered as living at Baumgardner’s address on Ridgeway Avenue in Hot Sulphur Springs.
He was arrested at Baumgardner’s home on April 12 for failing to register as a sex offender.
Baumgardner paid the $2,000 to bail him out.
In 2016, the Summit Daily News reported how Baumgardner was unrepentant:
Baumgardner seems unfazed by the scathing campaign, calling it “old news.” He added that he found out about Michael K. Frierson being a convicted sex offender at the same time everyone else did, because the ranch does not do background checks on employees. Frierson had been working on the ranch for more than a year, Baumgardner said. After seeing that Frierson had not caused trouble since his 2004 conviction, Baumgardner felt he was right in giving him a second chance.
“It didn’t make a difference last time, I don’t think it will make a difference this time,” he said, referring to his last bid for election. [Pols emphasis]
Gentle readers, we’re going to need to consider the very real possibility that the lack of consequences, political or otherwise, from Sen. Baumgardner’s harboring of an unregistered sex offender in his home might have affected his judgment about the seriousness of sex offenses in general. When news first broke during the 2012 campaign about Michael Frierson, convicted of sex with a minor under the age of 14, the consensus view was that it was a career-ender. But the antipathy toward Baumgardner’s primary opponent Jean White, in part due to low-life mail pieces that targeted White over her support for civil unions, saved Baumgardner from a scandal that by any objective measure should have literally put the “Capital Cowboy” out to pasture.
Now we know that if Jean White had won, women who were victimized might not have been.
And with that, the sobering realization that this is not a game slams home.