A Democratic Colorado state representative embroiled in a sexual harassment scandal claims that he is being “blackmailed and coerced” and says that he fears for his life as his “rights have been violated.”
Rep. Steve Lebsock (D-Thornton) allegedly became sexually aggressive toward Democratic colleague Rep. Faith Winter at a party in 2016, after she spurned his sexual advances, The Denver Post reported.
“He used explicit and suggestive language about how happy we could make each other and didn’t we deserve to be happy — it was in the end of session,” Winter said as she recounted the incident with Lebsock. “(He began) describing different sexual acts that we could do, and I turned him down. And the more I turned him down, the more aggressive and angry he got. He was standing over me. He was saying things like, ‘Why can’t you just leave? This is good for both of us, I know you can make me feel happy.’”
Shortly after Winter went public with the allegations on Friday, two more women came forward within a matter of hours and made similar accusations.
Lebsock, who denied engaging in any kind of sexual crimes, said on Tuesday that he believes he is a victim of someone harassing him through text messages and phone calls.
“This story is not just a story of false allegations of sexual harassment,” Lebsock said. “I have been blackmailed and coerced and my rights have been violated.”
Democratic House Speaker Crisanta Duran is now “facing calls for an investigation over her handling of sexual harassment allegations against a fellow Democratic lawmaker,” Colorado Public Radio reported.
Winter supposedly alerted Democratic leaders about the incident in 2016 but nothing was done.
“As Speaker of the House, I will continue to support the right of a victim to decide how they want these personal and sensitive situations to be handled,” Duran said in a statement on Tuesday. “When I named Rep. Lebsock to the chairmanship, I believed that the situation had been resolved to the satisfaction of Rep. Winter. When these new allegations came to light last week, I took action to address them. I would not have appointed him chair knowing what I know today.”