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Rep. Leslie Herod claims vindication after Denver judge states sexual assault claims 'defied common sense'

Colorado Democratic Party calls on Leslie Herod's accuser to resign from vice-chair role
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Posted at 6:05 PM, Mar 18, 2024
and last updated 2024-03-18 20:14:07-04

DENVER — Colorado State Rep. Leslie Herod says she feels vindicated after a Denver County Court judge stated that sexual assault allegations made against her “defied common sense,” during a hearing last month.

During that Feb. 12 hearing, Judge Clarisse Gonzales granted Herod (D-Denver) a protection order against her accuser, Sheena Kadi, while denying Kadi’s request for a permanent order against Herod.

“This experience has been extremely traumatizing, but it's also been extremely disheartening, you know, to have these types of allegations lobbed at you out of the blue. It's shocking,” Herod told Denver7 Investigates. “But I'm proud that we did get that vindication.”

These allegations became public last year, when Kadi posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, that Herod had sexually assaulted her. In a post from Dec. 14, 2023, Kadi names Herod as her assailant and said she’s been doxxed, hacked, threatened, harassed and received death threats.

She also stated Herod “simply won’t own up to her sexual misconduct,” in her now-deleted post.

Kadi is the public information officer for the state’s Officer of the Treasurer and vice chair of public relations and marketing for the Colorado Democratic Party.

Denver7 does not typically name victims of sexual assault, but is making an exception because Kadi made her accusations public.

Kadi claimed Herod assaulted her in December 2019 in her home and that subsequent meetings included unwanted advances and threats.

Judge Gonzales called Kadi’s testimony regarding the sexual assault “incredible by this court, not only because the nature of her testimony just simply defies common sense in so many instances, but also because the other exhibits, directly the reliable evidence proves this to be simply not consistent,” according to the court transcript obtained by Denver7 Investigates.

The judge noted that text messages showed Kadi had made it known that she wished to see Herod again romantically after the December 2019 meeting. Third-party witnesses also testified that Kadi bragged about having a “make-out” session with Herod, never suggesting that it was a sexual assault.

Gonzales also said the subsequent allegations of threats or unwanted advances were unsubstantiated and said during the hearing that “most of these are nothing more than somebody perhaps just ignoring you … or maybe, at most, being a little hurt.”

Rep. Leslie Herod claims vindication after Denver judge states sexual assault claims 'defied common sense'

“When the judge made her ruling, she was very clear 100% of the allegations were not credible,” Herod said. “And clearly, this person had been obsessed with me and put these allegations out there for her own personal reasons.”

The protection order states that Kadi must stay 100 feet away from Herod, except at the State Capitol where she must stay 25 feet away.

“I'm happy she's been vindicated. I'm happy that these false allegations have been vanquished,” Herod’s attorney Harvey Steinberg said.

As a result of the ruling, Colorado Democratic Party Chairman Shad Murib called on Kadi to resign her position with the organization.

“The court’s ruling couldn’t be clearer. Ms. Kadi’s regular attacks against Democrats is a violation of the Colorado Democratic Party’s code of conduct, and is made worse by the fact that the court discredited this specific and serious attack against Rep. Herod on "100 percent of the facts," and says that it “defies common sense.’ I think it’s appropriate that Ms. Kadi resign from her official role in the Democratic Party,” Murib said in a statement.

Herod said she agrees that Kadi should step down.

“It is the right thing to do. It was the right thing for the party to request her resignation. And it's the right thing for her to step down,” she said.

The Colorado Department of the Treasury, in a statement, wrote that, "Ms. Kadi has been a member of the department for close to two and a half years. This issue is something she's addressing in her personal capacity and it's not something we can discuss beyond that. We remain focused on the important work we're doing at Treasury."

Denver7 Investigates reached Kadi by text message on Monday. She said she was out of the country and unavailable for an interview. She stated that she was unaware of any requests for her to resign her role with the state’s Democratic Party.

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