A former legislative aide has filed a formal complaint against Colorado state Rep. Steve Lebsock alleging sexual harassment, the third leveled against the Democratic lawmaker and state treasurer candidate.
Cassie Tanner came forward in November to tell The Denver Post that Lebsock unbuttoned her shirt at a political event in March 2015, but she did not filed a complaint with House leadership until Tuesday. Lebsock, a three-term lawmaker from Thornton, has denied the incident took place and said Wednesday he did not attend the event in 2015.
In a statement, Tanner said she came forward only after Lebsock helped confirm the events for her in a post he made a week ago to discredit her account. She then lodged a formal complaint with House Majority Leader KC Becker.
“I feel like I have to defend myself because he is attacking me,” she said in an interview Wednesday. “I’m tired of being called a liar.”
The accusations have left Lebsock increasingly isolated politically. Top Democrats have called for his resignation, and his campaign fundraising has dried up. Lebsock raised just $1,025 in the final quarter of 2017 in the 4-way Democratic primary for state treasurer, and he hasn’t reported receiving any contributions since the harassment allegations became public.
Tanner last fall told The Post the alleged incident took place in 2014 and later said it was 2014 or 2015. “Ironically, it was Rep. Lebsock himself who helped me determine which year the incident at 1Up occurred,” she wrote.
Lebsock faces two other formal complaints from two other women who told The Post he sexually harassed them.
State Rep. Faith Winter, D-Westminster, alleged that Lebsock discussed sexual acts and tried to grab her by the elbow and get her to leave with him from a May 2016 legislative party. Former lobbyist Holly Tarry said Lebsock made unwanted sexual advances more than once from 2013 to 2016. All three sat together on opening day of the 2018 session.
Lebsock denies both allegations and is challenging the complaints — which are part of a cloud of sexual harassment at the Capitol this legislative session. He said Wednesday the new complaint is an effort by critics to “double down and triple down on the false allegations — and that’s exactly what’s happening now with this third allegation with Cassie.”
Tanner alleges the incident took place at the annual Colorado Young Democrats event at 1Up on Colfax Avenue near the Capitol.
“We talked for a few minutes and then he reached over, popped open the top button of my shirt and said, ‘That’s better,’ ” Tanner said in the statement. “I was taken aback and slapped his hand away. He laughed, and I quickly walked away. I was shocked and embarrassed and never told anyone what happened until I saw the story about him harassing Faith Winter that emerged last November.”
“I know what Rep. Lebsock did that night and so does he,” she wrote.
The statement includes new details about another instance in which Tanner said Lebosck “made lewd remarks about my breasts and the dress I was wearing.” She said she removed herself from the situation right away.
Staff writer Brian Eason contributed to this report.