- Associated Press - Tuesday, February 13, 2018

DENVER (AP) - A Colorado state lawmaker investigated for sexual misconduct said Tuesday he is voluntarily stepping down as chairman of an influential legislative committee and has agreed to undergo sensitivity training despite denying the allegations against him.

Sen. Randy Baumgardner, a Republican from rural Grand County, said he offered to step down as head of the transportation committee and agreed to undergo the training requested by Senate GOP leaders because the allegations were beginning to impede work at the Capitol.

A letter said an investigation by an outside firm found that the behavior more likely than not occurred, but Baumgardner said the investigation was “flawed, inaccurate, incomplete and biased.”

“I am taking these steps voluntarily now in hopes that it will bring this matter to a conclusion,” he said.

In the letter, Senate President Kevin J. Grantham and Senate Majority Leader Chris Holbert echoed Baumgartner’s concerns about the investigation, which they said they plan to address with the contractor.

Senate Democrats, meanwhile, said they planned to introduce a resolution Wednesday calling for Baumgartner to be expelled based on the findings of the investigation.

Republicans outnumber Democrats in the chamber and Minority Leader Lucia Guzman acknowledged it was unlikely Democrats would be able to get the necessary two-thirds support to pass it.

Under the Legislature’s sexual harassment policy, complaints and investigations are confidential and the investigation report has not been made public. However, according to the Democratic resolution, a former legislative aide alleged that Baumgardner had grabbed and slapped her buttocks on four separate occasions in 2016.

Democratic Sen. Irene Aguilar, who said she read a redacted version of a report on the investigation, cautioned that disregarding the results of the process set up by the Legislature undermines that process.

Rocky Mountain Community Radio reported Tuesday that a second person filed a complaint against Baumgardner accusing him of making an inappropriate comment to her in 2016 and pressuring her to drink with him in his office on another occasion.

Although that complaint was not part of the investigation, Baumgardner broadly addressed it, saying he apologized if he did anything offensive or suggestive to her. He also said he apologized to anyone else at the Capitol he may have offended.


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