KUNC’s Bente Birkeland breaks the latest news on the ongoing sexual harassment scandal plaguing the Colorado General Assembly–a new complaint alleging that Sen. Randy Baumgardner created a “hostile work environment” for legislative staffers:
Sen. Randy Baumgardner, who is facing calls to resign in the wake of sexual harassment allegations, has been named in a new complaint at the state Capitol. The accuser, a man who worked as a non-partisan Senate staffer in 2016, alleges that Baumgardner created an offensive and hostile work environment.
In a formal complaint filed with the Senate on Wednesday (Feb. 21, 2018), the male staffer alleges that Baumgardner repeatedly gave a female staffer unwanted attention throughout the 2016 legislative session.
The male staffer, who asked to remain anonymous for fear of retaliation, said when Baumgardner entered the room where they worked it felt negative and disruptive, and made others uncomfortable and impeded his ability to do his job.
“The female staffer would shake her head and call him ‘creepy and disgusting,’” the male staffer wrote in the complaint. “Bottom line, this became an environment that we all endured. It was a cloud that hung in the air, and at the time we didn’t know what to do about it.”
This latest complaint reinforces a point we have made repeatedly since the first word of allegations against Sen. Baumgardner made it into news reports. Like Rep. Steve Lebsock in the House, Baumgardner was well known as a lawmaker prone to sexual harassment. A recurring theme in news reports about the culture of sexual harassment in the Colorado General Assembly has been common knowledge among staff and others professionally obligated to do business with Colorado lawmakers of who to avoid–or not be caught in the same room alone with, or not drink with, et cetera.
…this became an environment that we all endured. [Pols emphasis]
In contrast to the ostracization Lebsock has earned from his fellow Democrats, it is this common knowledge of Baumgardner’s behavior that makes the relative absence of punishment from Republican Senate leadership so galling. There is simply no way that Senate President Kevin Grantham can claim ignorance of Baumgardner’s reputation. And if Grantham really was this ignorant, that’s a problem too.
Either way, this new complaint means that despite Grantham’s efforts, “the matter” is not concluded.