The Republican state senate president in Colorado is pushing back against the very idea of the “me too” movement on sexual misconduct in the wake of new allegations of sexual harassment by two GOP state senators.
The refusal by Colorado Republicans to address the issue comes after Republican state senators Randy Baumgardner and Jack Tate of Colorado were accused of sexual harassment while in office, KUNC News reported. Allegations against both lawmakers feature corroborating witnesses who described the misconduct as “creepy.”
“We ask those who feel they have been victims of harassment or inappropriate behavior at the General Assembly to file an official complaint, in confidence that their anonymity and rights will be protected,” Senate President Kevin Grantham requested. “Going forward, Senate Republican leaders cannot and will not be responding to unsubstantiated or anonymous allegations against members appearing in the press, which the existing complaint process is designed to handle.”
Sen. Grantham’s contention, that sexual misconduct allegations against politicians are best handled behind closed doors, is a direct rebuttal to the “Me Too” movement success in bringing about progress by having the conversation in the open.
One female intern who was 25 at the time said Sen. Baumgardner would often pressure her to drink with him in his office. She also recounted a story of Baumgardner complaining that she had not gone home with him a few days earlier and that he “had to leave all by myself, and walk home all by myself and lay in bed.”
“I just shook my head,” said a legislative aide who witnessed the encounter. “It was creepy.”
That same word — creepy — was also used to describe actions by Sen. Jack Tate against a former intern who was 18-years-old at the time. The inappropriate behavior allegedly lasted for two-and-a-half months.
“I really like that skirt you’re wearing,” Senator Tate alledgedly told the intern in an elevator on her first day. She claims he later said that, “if she wanted to move up in the world, give him a call.”
A fellow intern, who witnessed an encounter, said that Senator Tate “was creepy toward her.”
Both lawmakers have denied wrongdoing.
Six other female capitol workers also told KUNC they avoided Baumgardner. Previously, it was revealed that Baumgardner had an unregistered sex offender living in his home.
Sen. Baumgardner’s wife posted bond for the sex offender.
Baumgardner chairs the Senate Transportation and the Senate Capital Development Committees; Tate chairs the Senate Business, Labor and Technology Committee.