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Lesbock ousted from state house, Hancock apologizes for inappropriate texts

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Allegations of sexual harassment and assault rocked state politics last week, with the most serious development coming on March 2 when the state House voted 52-9 to expel Rep. Steve Lebsock, R-Thornton, following an investigation of sexual harassment claims lodged by Rep. Faith Winter, D-Westminster, and others. The complaints were investigated by the Employer's Council, an outside independent firm. Lebsock is only the second person expelled from the Colorado House, the other was Rep. William Howlett in 1915.

Lebsock changed his affiliation from Democrat to Republican before being ousted in an attempt to punish his former party by ensuring a Republican vacancy committee would name his replacement.

The day before, Senate President Kevin Grantham and other Republicans called for Denver District Attorney, Beth McCann, "to launch a full scale investigation into these allegations of sexual harassment by both Republican and Democrat lawmakers in both chambers of our legislature," the party said in a news release.

But no action has been taken by Grantham against Sen. Randy Baumgardner, R-Hot Sulphur Springs, who the Denver Post reported faces a substantiated complaint that he slapped and grabbed the buttocks of a legislative aide multiple times during the 2016 legislative session. The Colorado House is led by Democrats, while the Senate has a Republican majority.

In a related development, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock apologized for inappropriate sexual texts he sent to a police detective assigned to his security detail in 2011 and 2012, though he insists he didn't sexually harass her and refused to resign over the revelation, saying in a letter to city employees he has "learned from this mistake."

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