Baumgardner steps down as chair of transportation committee after report finds sexual assault allegations credible

Lance Maggart / Sky-Hi News

Sen. Randy Baumgardner resigned from his chairmanship of the senate’s transportation committee Tuesday afternoon as an ongoing sexual harassment scandal continues to swirl at the state capitol.

Baumgardner, Hot Sulphur Springs Republican and state senator representing Grand County, continued to deny the allegations made against him during a press conference he held in his senate office Tuesday to announce his stepping down from his chairmanship.

“The allegations made against me in this complaint are not true,” Baumgardner said. “Despite the findings of the investigations I believe it to be flawed, inaccurate, incomplete and biased. I am taking these steps voluntarily now in hopes that it will bring this matter to a conclusion.”

In addition to resigning from his chairman post, Baumgardner has agreed to attend sensitivity training at the request of State Senate President Kevin Grantham.

“I went to see President Grantham this morning to discuss how we could put some of this controversy behind us,” Baumgardner said. “It is obvious that this is beginning to impede the important work we do here at the capitol.”

Baumgardner said he asked Grantham if it would help matters if he stepped down from his chairmanship of the transportation committee.

“Although this is painful for me to do so, in many ways, because I have worked on these issues for years, I think it is probably one of the best things I can do at this time,” he said.

Grantham and Senate Majority Leader Chris Holbert echoed Baumgardner’s claims of bias from the senate-initiated investigation into the complaints.

“We are concerned by the inaccuracies, bias, conflicts of interest and inconsistencies we see in the report,” read a letter to Baumgardner signed by both men.

According to reports from KUNC, the investigation into Baumgardner found complaints of sexual harassment against him to be credible.

“Taking all statements to this investigator into consideration, it appears more likely than not that Randy Baumgardner grabbed and slapped the rear end of a legislative aide during the 2016 legislative session of the Colorado General Assembly on several occasions,” that investigation stated, according to KUNC.

Senate Democrats cried foul on allegations of bias from investigators with KUNC reporting comments from Senate Minority Leader Lucia Guzman.

“Our job is not to question the report, but to question the perpetrator,” said Guzman, a Democrat.

Democratic State Senator Irene Aguilar agreed.

“You’re saying if you give me the results I like, then you’ve done a good report; if you give me the results I don’t like, then you’ve given me a bad report,” Aguilar said.

Click the image to read the letter to Baumgardner.

Last week State Senate Democrats issued a calling for Baumgardner to resign his senate seat. All 16 members of the state senate’s Democratic caucus have signed a resolution they plan to introduce that would expel Baumgardner from the senate. Approval of the measure would require a two-third vote on the senate floor. Republicans currently hold a one-seat majority in the state senate.

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