BY PETER JONES
State Sen. Jack Tate, R-Centennial, has not done an extended interview in the wake of a formal sexual-harassment complaint that a radio station says was filed against him last week, but in an email to The Villager he said he takes the issue very seriously and is “glad that a process is being put in place to clarify this situation.”
The senator said that he was unaware of an instance in which he had made someone feel uncomfortable.
“In fact, in my three years at the Capitol, no person has ever complained or brought to my attention that I caused discomfort of any kind,” he wrote. “Had someone indicated to me that I was making him or her feel uncomfortable, I would have happily addressed the matter at that time.”
On Nov. 29, a former legislative intern filed a complaint against Tate, alleging that during the recent legislative session the senator would often leer at her and comment on her clothing, according to report by KUNC, a public radio station in Greeley. The 19-year-old former intern also said Tate would frequently place his hand on her shoulder, letting it “linger there too long,” KUNC added.
“Sen. Tate made sexual innuendoes concerning the way I was dressed,” the intern wrote, according to KUNC. “Noting that the skirt I was wearing fit quite well as he looked me up and down. Sen. Tate, during my time at the [Capitol], continued to make comments about my attire in front of my co-workers who also found the situation extremely uncomfortable in the way in which he addressed myself and the way in which he looked at me.”
The grievance against Tate came within days of a similar formal complaint filed against state Sen. Randy Baumgardner, R-Hot Sulphur Springs, which was also detailed by the station.
KUNC, which said it received copies of the complaints from the women who filed them, did not identify the accuser, who requested anonymity. By legislative rules, the complaint process is confidential, though Tate and Baumgardner could legally name their accusers.
For Tate’s part, he cites news reports in which several women contend he has been respectful of women in the state Capitol.
“I value my good relationships at the workplace and have the utmost respect for the many men and women with whom I work on a daily basis,” the senator wrote in his email to The Villager. “I look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues and associates in a positive way going forward.”
Similar complaints have been filed against at least four other state lawmakers.
Rep. Steve Lebstock, D-Thornton, a candidate for state treasurer, has resisted calls by some colleagues to resign over the accusations against him.
Under the Colorado Constitution, each chamber of the legislature has the authority to expel one of its members by a two-thirds vote as punishment. That has only happened once in 1915 when Rep. William Howland was expelled after a bribery investigation.
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