PERRY: If you’re thinking sexual harassment isn’t serious enough business to expel a legislator, you’re not thinking


State Rep. Faith Winter’s gut-wrenching plea to sack the State Capitol’s most notorious sexual harasser was a game changer.

After listening to Winter last Friday somehow keep herself collected as she retold the tale of fellow state Rep. Steve Lebsock’s sordid vulgar ploys to have sex with her as well as Capitol staffers and lobbyists — Colorado changed.

It couldn’t help but change after Winter and several fellow lawmakers took to the lectern on the House floor March 2 during what was essentially Lebsock’s expulsion trial. The fellow lawmakers lined up to talk about how not just repugnant Lebsock’s now infamous propositions, banter and callous innuendo were, but how serious it all is.

Winter’s stunning speech wasn’t maudlin or indignant. She wasn’t calculating or even especially eloquent in her recollection of what she’s been through the last several months.

Instead, she was brutally honest.

She was unquestionably credible in retelling what Lebsock did. It was riveting to hear how it affected her at the time he drunkenly and vulgarly demanded sex. It was more enlightening, however, how she has since suffered just by confronting his behavior. The really important part of what Winter and others have said has to do with being a target of his spite and vengeance ever since she went public last year.


Lebsock was relentless and obscene in his public revenge for her having outed him.

The stunning testimony against Lebsock by Winter and others wasn’t expected to do anything more than further stir partisan and conflicting emotions in the Legislature. It takes a two-thirds majority of the 65 votes in the state House to expel another member. Pundits predicted right up to the moment House officials start counting ayes and nays that proponents didn’t have the votes to toss Lebsock out of his seat.

In the end, only nine state representatives, all Republicans, voted against expulsion. The other 52, Democrats and Republicans, voted for expulsion.

I can’t imagine how anyone could not vote to expel after listening to first Winter, then a parade of Democrats and Republicans alike explain how dangerous and cruel sexual harassment by Lebsock and others is.

They have sympathizers with at least some Republicans across the Capitol in the Senate, where two creepy legislators there are so far getting off relatively unscathed.

GOP leaders there don’t want to admit what Winter and a lot of fellow House Republicans made perfectly clear as they took turns testifying against Lebsock and others who perpetrate sexual harassment as lawmakers.

To Senate President Kevin Grantham, R-Canon City and outed pervy GOP state senators Randy “Spanky” Baumgardner and Jack “Oh, Leery” Tate, it’s not that big of a deal. They say no law was broken, so move along, folks.

As a someone who regularly deals with elected officials, I would demand these men step down or get expelled if they told my 22-year-old daughter how good her dress looked or to come up and see them sometime to talk about getting ahead. Or if one of them slapped my wife on the ass. As a dad and husband, I would advise each of them to kick-punch their windpipes. I think expulsion is a good compromise.

There were crimes committed by these men. There’s just no law —  yet — against a legislator using his or her position to extort sex from or bully Capitol staffers, lobbyists or each other.

The only difference between other forms of bribery, blackmail and assault is that the sexual kind is perfectly legal for state elected officials.

Why is it so hard to understand that pervy guys like this illegally manipulate legislation by adding sex and corruption to their daily regimes as elected officials?

Who doesn’t get that? Grantham, Tate, Baumgardner — state Rep. Paul Rosenthal, who thinks he got a bye because he got handsy just before getting elected — and these nine state reps who voted against Lebsock’s expulsion last week: Perry Buck, R-Loveland; Justin Everett, R-Littleton; Stephen Humphrey, R-Severance; Kimmi Lewis, R-Kim; Patrick Neville, R-Castle Rock; Kim Ransom, R-Parker; Lori Saine, R-Dacono; Shane Sandridge, R-Colorado Springs; and Judy Reyher, R-Swink.

Solving this messy problem and preventing it from happening again is pretty easy. There ought to be a law, and these are the people who can make one. And if they don’t think what Winter and others described about Lebsock rises to the level of expulsion, it’s nearly election time. Better put people in seats at the Capitol who get it.

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