DENVER (CBS4) – The president of the Colorado Senate is calling on the Denver District Attorney’s Office to investigate claims of sexual misconduct at the state Capitol.
The call comes as the Colorado House of Representatives is meeting Thursday to discuss allegations of harassment by state Rep. Steve Lebsock, a Democrat from Adams County. Lebsock has been accused of harassing or intimidating five women inside the statehouse and at local bars and restaurants.
The investigator, who says those allegations are credible, fielded questions in the morning about her report.
Senate President Kevin Grantham, a Republican from Canon City, says any allegations that are criminal in nature should be investigated by DA Beth McCann.
“We ask the DA as the people’s lawyer to do the job she was elected by the people to do, to step up to the plate and root out the cancer that is sexual harassment both inside and outside the capitol,” Grantham said.
Grantham says if any lawmaker is convicted of sexual misconduct he will introduce a resolution to expel him or her.
The House will vote Friday on whether to expel Lebsock.
Lebsock’s case began in November when public radio station KUNC-FM reported the first of the allegations, including claims by a fellow Democrat, Rep. Faith Winter, that Lebsock accosted her at an end-of-session party in 2016.
Lebsock apologized to anyone he said he may have offended. He expressed support for the #MeToo movement and he invited his accusers to file formal complaints with the Democrat-led House leadership. They did.
Well before an outside investigation began, senior Democrats, including Gov. John Hickenlooper, House Speaker Crisanta Duran, Lt. Gov. Donna Lynne and U.S. Rep. Jared Polis demanded that Lebsock resign. Lynne and Polis are running for governor.
“They will double down,” Lebsock said of Democratic leaders in a defiant video he posted on a website in December for his flagging candidacy for state treasurer. He claimed his accusers, including a former legislative aide and a former lobbyist, were lying.
That retaliatory conduct, House Majority Leader KC Becker said, reinforced what she called a pattern of conduct that merits his expulsion.
Democrats hold 37 seats in the 65-seat House, and a two-thirds vote is needed to expel Lebsock.
“If we don’t move forward with this expulsion, we are sending a very dangerous message that when we put on this badge, that we are held above accountability and reproach,” Winter said, indicating her badge as an elected legislator.
It’s believed the last time a Colorado lawmaker was expelled was in 1915. Rep. William W. Holland, a Denver Republican, was voted out after colleagues determined he had lied about receiving a bribe on the House floor, according to newspaper accounts at the time.
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)