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State Rep. Steve Lebsock says polygraph proves he's innocent of sexual harassment allegations

December 14, 2017 Updated: December 14, 2017 at 2:11 pm
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A defiant state Rep. Steve Lebsock released a lie detector test Thursday he said proves he's innocent of accusations he sexually harassed a fellow lawmaker and declared he's willing to take a polygraph to disprove all other allegations against him.

Lebsock also charged the allegations against him, which first surfaced in early November, are politically motivated. The Thornton Democrat said in a statement to Colorado Politics he plans to tour to the state to "shed a bright light on the deep corruption in our political system" while continuing to campaign for state treasurer in next year's election.

State Rep. Faith Winter, the Westminster Democrat who has charged Lebsock made sexually aggressive advances on her at an end-of-session party last year, said she's standing by the complaint she filed with legislative leadership and ripped Lebsock for "trying to silence his accusers," which include 10 other women who have alleged in news accounts that Lebsock harassed them.

"I was uncomfortable then, and I am uncomfortable now, and I will not be bullied," Winter told Colorado Politics.

The Broomfield Democrat who has said he plans to introduce a resolution to force Lebsock to step down from the Legislature when lawmakers convene next month said his plans haven't changed.

"It's very disappointing that Rep. Lebsock is paying someone to try to call the women he's treated this way liars," state Rep. Matt Gray told Colorado Politics. "Polygraphs are not scientifically valid, and Rep. Lebsock first said he didn't remember what happened, so I'm not sure what he's even trying to claim here."

A memorandum summarizing the polygraph results obtained by Colorado Politics lists four questions Lebsock said the examiner formulated to determine whether he was telling the truth about events that transpired with Winter as lawmakers and other Capitol colleagues celebrated the end of the legislative session last year.

"Mr. Lebsock had no significant reactions and produced overall positive scores on the following questions," states the polygraph report prepared by Accountability Polygraph Services, an Englewood firm Lebsock hired to administer the test.

"It is the examiner's professional opinion that Mr. Lebsock was being truthful on all of the above-listed questions," the examiner says after listing the questions and Lebsock's response.

"In other words," Lebsock said in a statement, "Steve Lebsock is stating the truth, and Faith Winter's allegations are false. The news was met with elation from Steve's supporters who knew the entire time that he was innocent and the allegations untrue."

A memorandum details results of a polygraph examination administered by Accountability Polygraph Services of Englewood, Colorado, on Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2017, to state Rep. Steve Lebsock, D-Thornton, asking him about allegations contained in a complaint alleging he sexually harassed state Rep. Faith Winter, D-Westminster. (Colorado Politics)
A memorandum details results of a polygraph examination administered by Accountability Polygraph Services of Englewood, Colorado, on Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2017, to state Rep. Steve Lebsock, D-Thornton, asking him about allegations contained in a complaint alleging he sexually harassed state Rep. Faith Winter, D-Westminster. (Colorado Politics) 

The questions include whether Lebsock in May 2016 attempted to grab Winter's arm and whether he did grab her arm. "In May 2016 at Stoney's Bar, did you touch Faith's buttocks?" reads the third question. "No," the report says Lebsock answered to each.

The fourth question, Lebsock said, goes to the motive he's alleging his accusers have for trying to force him from office and out of the race for state treasurer.

"Since May 2016, did Faith ask you to have Adam (Matkowsky) drop out of the state senate race?" the examiner asks, and Lebsock answers, "Yes."

Lebsock has charged he's being pressured to resign in order to help Winter win a crucial Senate seat that could determine which party controls the chamber after next year's election. She's facing a primary against Matkowsky, a Thornton city councilman, for the Adams County seat held by state Sen. Beth Martinez Humenik, a Westminster Republican.

Winter dismissed Lebsock's contention her allegations had anything to do with politics and told Colorado Politics Lebsock had it backwards about Matkowsky.

"He offered a trade," she said in an interview. "'How about I get Matkowsky out if you don't recruit a woman to run for state treasurer?' I did put in my complaint that he initially tried to give me favors, including asking Matkowsky to get out of the race. It's not something I ever asked him to do."

She added, "I wish he'd had them ask, 'Did you ask Faith five times to go have sex with you?'"

In a lengthy statement to Colorado Politics, Winter said she wasn't impressed by Lebsock's polygraph.

"The official complaint I filed with the house leadership is 100% true," she said. "Neither the American Psychological Association nor the Supreme Court of the United States, nor most scientists or courts in the nation, count on polygraph test to successfully determine the difference between the truth and a lie. Steve Lebsock has said he did not remember what he did, he then apologized for his behavior, and is now going to extreme lengths to try and silence his accusers. My account and at least 10 other accounts of harassment need to be taken seriously. Steve Lebsock's story has changed multiple times; my story has never changed. We won't be silenced, an independent investigation is underway, and its findings will speak for themselves. As to this being used for any political gain, Steve Lebsock attempted to use political favors to silence me. I was uncomfortable then and I am uncomfortable now, and I will not be bullied."

Winter said she was also unhappy Lebsock had seen a copy of her formal complaint, which allows him to rebut particular charges.

"Part of the whole reason he was able to do this is he has a copy of my complaint, and that's a problem in our process. It's not standard in harassment claims that that happens, and as we rewrite our policy, that's something we need to evaluate."

Legislative leadership plans to meet Friday to discuss policies surrounding sexual harassment complaints.

Lebsock said in a statement he had been compelled to take the polygraph and speak out because an investigator appointed by House Speaker Crisanta Duran to has yet to contact him "so I can tell my side of the story, interview my witnesses, and properly grant me the due process all Americans deserve in situations like mine."

"However, I have not been contacted yet, and I simply cannot wait any longer to tell my side of the story, which proves all of the allegations false," he said. "After learning that certain politicians seek to have me removed from the Legislature over false allegations against me, I decided to take action."

A number of sexual misconduct allegations against Colorado legislators have rocked the Capitol in recent weeks in the wake of the "#MeToo" movement's prominence nationwide, starting with an explosive report by KUNC reporter Bente Birkeland published Nov. 10 detailing allegations by Winter.

The next day, a former lobbyist and a former legislative aide aired similar allegations against Lebsock, who has consistently denied any wrongdoing. As many as eight other women at the Capitol have told reporters Lebsock, who is serving his third term, harassed them.

Within weeks, allegations of improper behavior emerged against state Rep. Paul Rosenthal, a Denver Democrat, and Republican state Sens. Randy Baumgardner of Hot Sulphur Springs and Jack Tate of Centennial. Like Lebsock, they have all strenuously denied they've done anything wrong.

According to news reports, formal confidential complaints have been filed with legislative leaders against all four lawmakers. In addition to Winter, the former lobbyist, Holly Tarry, has filed a complaint alleging Lebsock made lewd remarks to her.

Lebsock, a former Marine, said in a statement that he intends to "stand up and fight for what's true" so that false allegations don't harm "the real victims of the #metoo movement who deserve justice."

Winter said she was angry about Lebsock's latest move.

"Sexual harassment is about power," she told Colorado Politics. "This is another abuse of power by Lebsock, who is desperate to sway the investigation. But everybody knows what happened; he's a serial offender. I will not be bullied."

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