PARKER, Colo. (CBS4) – The Mayor of Parker says he is “deeply disappointed” in the actions of Councilwoman Debbie Lewis, the day after a CBS4 Investigation revealed Lewis was apparently caught in a compromising situation in December, then pressured police officials to smooth over the situation.
In a statement Tuesday morning, Parker Mayor Mike Waid said, ”While I am deeply disappointed in Councilwoman Lewis’s lack of judgment in her actions and subsequent contacts with our Police Chief and Deputy Police Chief, I am proud of the way our staff immediately engaged the District Attorney in this situation.”
Waid went on to call what was revealed in the CBS4 Investigation, a “very, very unfortunate situation.”
Lewis will not face public indecency or official misconduct charges after police believed they “caught her in the act” in December, performing a sex act on a male companion in a car in public view.
“There is evidence to support some level of intimate conduct occurring in the vehicle,” wrote Arapahoe County Senior Deputy District Attorney Douglas Bechtel. He also wrote, “I do not believe there is a substantial likelihood of conviction if this case were to proceed to trial… therefore, I do not believe that criminal charges are appropriate in this case.”
Lewis adamantly denies that a sex act occurred and said she was only “intimately kissing” her male companion, Doug Dahlstrom.
The incident occurred Wednesday Dec. 12 just after 7 p.m. behind a restaurant in Parker. A man and his teenage daughter called Parker police after seeing a man and woman engaged in an apparent sex act in the car.
“She was wearing a G string, thong and was bent over _____g him,” said the man. He said his daughter was upset by what she saw.
When Parker police approached the car, they immediately recognized the woman as Debbie Lewis, a three-term Republican councilwoman. The man in the car was identified as Dahlstrom, a construction company owner. Neither is married.
According to police reports, the man and woman were in the drivers seat facing each other when police arrived on scene. They say Lewis quickly moved to the passenger seat, but police noted her blouse was unbuttoned and her pantyhose/ leggings were down below her knees.
“Looks like you’ve been doing a little more than just hanging out,” an officer said as Dahlstrom rolls down his window. As Parker officers began asking questions and investigating the situation, Lewis, 67, called the police chief and the deputy police chief of Parker and was heard “yelling and screaming.”
Authorities say she called the chief and his assistant 11 times during the incident. Police report that in one call to the assistant chief, Jim Tsurapas, Lewis was “ranting and raving” and said “someone was going to pay for this.”
She called Tsurapas five times that night and according to official documents, told Tsurapas multiple times to “get them (police officers) to leave… get them out of here.” In one of six phone calls to Chief David King that night, Lewis said “Call somebody. We are still detained, please.”
As officers initially questioned Dahlstrom and Lewis, both denied having sex in the Audi. One officer told Dahlstrom, ”This is unacceptable, being in an alleyway, whether or not you want to cop to doing something or not, witnesses say you were. I’m telling you this is unacceptable. There’s kids… we’re right across from a McDonald’s, there’s families inside here. What was going on in that car was seen by people.“
Parker police Sgt. Mark Terreault wrote he told Dahlstrom, “It was obvious what was happening in the car, and that this sort of activity needed to be reserved for a private location, and he agreed.”
Terreault reported speaking to Lewis saying, “I told her that it was obvious that they were engaged in some sort of sexual activity, and she replied ‘OK.’ I told her that this sort of activity needed to be reserved for a private location, and she agreed.”
However in a phone interview with CBS4, Lewis was adamant no sex act occurred and she was just “intimately kissing” Dahlstrom. She said her pantyhose had ripped earlier in the day which is why the garment had fallen below her knees. She said police are mistaken when they said she was sitting on Dahlstrom’s lap.
Asked why she called the Parker police chief and assistant chief 11 times during the incident, she said she “Couldn’t understand the fanfare. It was crazy. Tell me why two police cars were needed for two 67-year-olds making out?”
She said the police response was overkill, and she downplayed her ability to influence the police department. Although she initially denied to CBS4 saying, ”someone was going to pay for this,” she later said she “probably did,” and said that was probably “poor judgment.”
In a separate phone interview, Dahlstrom told CBS4 a different story than Lewis. He repeatedly denied a sex act occurred and said no kissing had taken place at all.
“I was not kissing her. I don’t know where that came from.“ Dahlstrom said he and Lewis were just “visiting” in his car and having a brief conversation.
Parker police determined no crime had been committed and neither Lewis nor Dahlstrom was cited. On Jan. 24, the 18th Judicial District wrote to Parker Police Chief David King, concluding that they could not prove the elements of public indecency.
In a follow up letter on Feb. 19, prosecutors also said they considered official misconduct or a charge of attempt to influence a public official, based on Lewis’ calls to police officials, but decided those charges were not “appropriate.” They did write, though, “the facts support that Ms. Lewis made requests with the intent to obtain a benefit, to wit; her being released without further investigation. It seems clear that while Ms. Lewis didn’t specifically ask for preferential treatment, she was nonetheless seeking your (Chief King’s) assistance based on her existing relationship with you, the Assistant Chief, and your department. Her requests regarding getting the officers to leave and calling somebody, as well as her statement that ‘someone is going to pay for this’ could be characterized as Ms. Lewis’ attempt to influence, alter or affect certain conduct by you or your staff.”
Lewis is originally from Memphis, but has lived in Parker for more than 35 years and previously served as vice president of the Douglas County Republican Women’s Club. She has been in real estate since the early 1990s and is a former teacher.
In a previous interview with a Parker newspaper, she called herself “approachable” and said she listens to the “needs and concerns of our citizens.”
Lewis declined to speak on camera to CBS4. Her attorney said, “There was no wrongdoing and she has moved on.”