Rep. Steve Lebsock says he won't resign over harassment allegations despite pressure

Winter rebuffs his statement
Posted at 6:32 PM, Nov 28, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-29 19:45:48-05

DENVER – Colorado state Rep. Steve Lebsock, an Adams County Democrat, said Tuesday he’s received more pressure to resign but says he won’t after he was formally accused by a fellow lawmaker of sexual harassment.

Lebsock, whom Rep. Faith Winter formally accused of making unwanted sexual advances toward her at a 2016 legislative party and who was formally accused by another woman as well, said that no “fact finders” from the outside party conducting the investigation into his conduct had met with him yet as of Tuesday.

“When I am contacted by the fact finder/s, I will submit my official responses to the two formal complaints. Ultimately the truth will come out,” Lebsock said in a statement posted to his website.

He added in the lengthy post that “most of what has been reported is one sided,” that “some of the alleged incidents have been significantly exaggerated,” and that some of the accusations “are completely false.”

After the allegations against Lebsock came to light, House Speaker Crisanta Duran and Lt. Gov. Donna Lynne were among the high-profile Democrats to call for Lebsock’s resignation. Duran stripped him of a committee chairmanship.

Lebsock said days later he was being harassed over the phone by someone from California offering him a job in exchange for his resignation.

He furthered those claims Tuesday.

“Two individuals have offered me jobs if I resign. One is a Facebook friend of Faith Winter. The other is a prominent figure in democratic Colorado politics,” Lebsock said.

He said that he believes he is being pressured to resign because Winter is running for a Senate seat currently held by Republicans. If Democrats can flip two Republican Senate seats in 2018, they will re-take the Colorado Senate.

“A quick resignation for ‘the good of the party’, although expedient for some in political circles will not allow for fair fact finding and due process,” Lebsock wrote. “All I am asking for is due process. After all of this is over, I look forward to continuing my service to the people of Colorado. I also plan on being part of the important national conversation on how we can continuously improve and how we might treat each other with respect and love.”

Lebsock is also running for state treasurer in 2018.

On Wednesday, both Winter and Duran responded to Lebsock, and Duran furthered her calls for Lebsock to resign.

“I told the truth and will continue to tell the truth. There is nothing ‘significantly exaggerated’. I said no 5 times to sexual advances,” Winter said in a tweet. “I felt unsafe. Deflecting his responsibility is wrong. I am not alone 10 others have also shared their experience of harassment.”

“I’m disappointed in Rep. Lebsock’s attempts to shift attention to the actions of others rather than taking responsibility for his own," Duran said. "I continue to believe he should do the right thing and resign.” 

Leaders from both parties in the Senate and House are set to meet next month to review the Capitol’s sexual harassment policies and reporting chain of command.