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State GOP lawmakers call for criminal investigation into harassment claims

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DENVER -

A battle is brewing at the Colorado Capitol with Senate republicans asking the Denver District Attorney to investigate claims of sexual harassment against lawmakers from both parties.

In a news conference this morning, Senate President Kevin Grantham announced that he wants Denver DA, Beth McCann who is a former Democratic state lawmaker, to do a full investigation into the harassment claims against several lawmakers. 

"As representatives of the people of Colorado, elected officials should be held to a higher standard. When allegations of unwanted sexual contact are raised, we have no doubt they should be thoroughly investigated and prosecuted to the furthest extent of the law. That is way today, we are calling on 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," said Grantham, in a statement distributed by the Senate Republican communications office and published by 9 News Denver.

"Sexual harassment is far more than an inconvenience, a disruption, or an interference in the workplace. It has no place in our state Capitol and we must demand better from our elected leaders. I stand with president Grantham today and my office will provide assistance at the District Attorney's request. I fully expect any member of the legislature convicted of sexual misconduct to be removed by the legislative body," Attorney General Cynthia Coffman was quoted as saying in the same distributed statement and published by 9 News Denver.

Formal sexual harassment complaints have been filed against senators Randy Baumgardner, R-Hot Sulphur Springs, and Jack Tate, R-Centennial as well as Rep. Steve Lebsock, D-Thornton.

Debate at the Capitol today centered on a resolution to expel Lebsock from the state legislature. Members of the House are supposed to vote on that resolution tomorrow.  It is not clear if that vote will take place. 

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