Colorado state Rep. Lebsock issued another apology to the women accusing him of sexual misconduct. They say it’s not enough.
Author: Jessica Machetta - November 13, 2017 - Updated: November 14, 2017
Colorado state Rep. Steve Lebsock issued a fresh apology on Saturday to three women accusing him of sexually inappropriate behavior, by sending an email to the women and copying The Denver Post.
According to the Post, he said, “I have come to realize that it does not matter that, at the time, I may have perceived my words as playful,” he wrote. “It does not matter that, at the time, I may have felt that we were flirting. It does not matter that, at the time, I may have felt what I said was OK. It does not matter that I may not remember the exact words which were hurtful. It does not matter that, at the time, I thought we were joking.
“The only thing that matters is how I made these three women feel,” he said. “I am sorry.”
But the three women say it’s not enough, and that he should resign.
Winter, former lobbyist Holly Tarry and former legislative aide Cassie Tanner followed suit and filed their own statement to The Post, stating, “His apology was about how he made us feel but he never apologizes for his actions,” the statement read. “Additionally, he concentrates on words, but in at least two cases, there was also physical contact. Touching without consent isn’t playful or flirty — it is harassment or assault.”
“We hope that Representative Lebsock takes full responsibility for his actions against us and many other women. Because this is a serious pattern of behavior and we know other women have been involved as well, we feel it is best for him to resign.”
Lebsock suggested he might be reconsidering his run for state treasurer, and The Post reports his campaign’s fundraising consultant, Kirsten Boyd, announced on Facebook she would be leaving that position.
Others took to Facebook to defend Lebsock like Shari Shelton Walsh, who worked alongside Lebsock to pass a bill in 2014 and says she’s known him for 33 years.
“I think drunken flirting and sexual assault and harassment are very different,” she said in a Facebook post. “I have experienced both a thousand times over. I think things are being taken a bit far with Rep. Lebsock, a month before his election for state treasurer. Again, I have spent many ALONE hours in an office with Rep. Lebsock and he was never, ever inappropriate.”
Political analyst Eric Sondermann also took to Facebook, where he drew a parallel between the Lebsock allegations and those against Sen. Roy Moore in Alabama, who is accused of sexual misconduct with a 14-year-old.
“A tale of two states. Two cultures. Two parties,” Sondermann wrote. “Yes, the political stakes might be somewhat higher in Alabama. And no two situations are ever identical. But there is a stark difference between the manner in which Steve Lebsock is being held to account by leaders of his party at home in Colorado and how some (a shrinking some) in Alabama continue to rally around Roy Moore.
“Politics be damned, how anyone who professes ‘family values’ or a strict morality can stand by Roy Moore or cover for him is beyond me,” Sondermann continued. “It is the very height of hypocrisy. Meanwhile, hats off to Faith Winter and many of her Democratic legislative colleagues. As well as the victimized lobbyists who have also come forward with their stories.”
Winter, Tarry and Tanner reportedly told The Post that Lebsock’s unwanted advances included grabbing Winter by the elbow after asking her to leave a bar with him, asking Tarry for sex and reaching across a table to undo a button on Tanner’s blouse.