#MeTooCivil rightsLegislatureNews

Accusations against Sen. Tate aren’t sexual harassment, Senate president says

Author: Joey Bunch - March 29, 2018 - Updated: March 30, 2018

Republican Sen. Jack Tate decorates his desk in 2017 before the opening day of the Colorado state legislature at the State Capitol in Denver. (The Gazette file photo)

DENVER — Even if the accusations against Sen. Jack Tate, R-Centennial, are true, they don’t add up to sexual harassment. That’s the determination of Senate President Kevin Grantham.

According to a report the accuser provided the press last week, she “alleges that Mr. Tate made comments about her clothing, that he said, ‘I like the way that skirt looks on you.’ As well, (she) alleges Mr. Tate nudged her near her waist, acted flirtatious towards her, and put his arm on her shoulders.”

Tate has said he has no memory of those things.

“I am grateful that this challenging situation has come to a conclusion,” he said Thursday.

The independent investigation found that the woman was more likely than not telling the truth.

In a letter to Tate dated Thursday, Grantham wrote that he takes all allegations of workplace harassment seriously.

“It is also important to note that none of the complainants’ accusations constitute a violation of state or federal employment laws,” Grantham said. “I reach that conclusion after consulting with legal counsel and discussing the Employers Council’s report with their Vice President.

“This has been a learning experience for all of us.”

Grantham concluded: “Therefore, in light of my review, and the seminars already attended, I have determined that corrective action based on this complaint is unwarranted, and the investigation is therefore concluded.”

The accuser did not return a call for comment Thursday. She previously has declined to speak to Colorado Politics.

She confided to KUNC’s Bente Birkeland previously. KUNC posted the full complaint last week.

“Actions have consequences,” the former intern, a college student, told Birkeland. “Grantham is the one who said the reports would be treated fairly and that he trusted the investigative process. Not handling it for two months, if Grantham did that in a criminal court that would never fly.”

Tate is among six Colorado legislators who have been accused of misbehavior. Rep. Steve Lebsock of Thornton was expelled from the House this month. He switched his party registration from Democrat to Republican during the debate on kicking him out. He was formally accused by five women alleging 11 incidents.

Senate Democrats are pushing for a similar vote on Sen. Randy Baumgardner, a Republican from Hot Sulphur Springs, who is accused of slapping a former aide on the buttocks. Democrats have made speeches at the end of each day’s session urging Grantham to hold expulsion hearings on Baumgardner.

Sen. Larry Crowder, a Republican from Alamosa, is accused of touching Rep. Susan Lontine on the buttocks on the House floor in 2014 and telling what Lontine perceived to be an off-color joke last year. A complaint against Rep. Paul Rosenthal, a Democrat from Denver, was dismissed because the alleged incident occurred before he was a legislator. Baumgardner, Crowder and Rosenthal deny the allegations against them.

Senate Republicans have accused Sen. Daniel Kagan, D-Cherry Hills Village, of using the women’s restroom near the Senate floor, which Kagan said he did by mistake when he was a new senator, because the doors aren’t marked.

Joey Bunch

Joey Bunch

Joey Bunch is the senior political correspondent for Colorado Politics. He has a 31-year career in journalism, including the last 15 in Colorado. He was part of the Denver Post team that won the Pulitzer Prize in 2013 and is a two-time Pulitzer finalist. His resume includes covering high school sports, the environment, the casino industry and civil rights in the South, as well as a short stint at CNN.

One comment

  • DJ

    March 29, 2018 at 3:17 pm

    #ME TOO, where does it stop? She said he said.

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