A Democratic state congressman accused of sexual assault by 10 women has challenged the validity of the allegations.
On Nov. 10, Colorado State Rep. Faith Winter accused fellow Colorado State Rep. Steve Lebsock of making unwanted sexual advances toward her, according to The Denver Post.
"He used explicit and suggestive language about how happy we could make each other and didn't we deserve to be happy — it was in the end of session," Winter told The Post. "[He began] describing different sexual acts that we could do, and I turned him down. And the more I turned him down, the more aggressive and angry he got. He was standing over me. He was saying things like, 'Why can't you just leave? This is good for both of us, I know you can make me feel happy.'"
The alleged incident occurred at a bar as lawmakers celebrated the end of the legislative session in May 2016.
"I told him no," added Winter. "I told him he needed to leave. I told him he needed to go home. He started grabbing my elbow. He was trying to get me to go out of the bar. He was very angry."
Following the allegations, Lebsock refused to resign.
"The people of Colorado are tired of dirty politics and tired of anything that appears underhanded or out of bounds (and) will not be accepted by our citizens," said Lebsock. "We should take these accusations seriously, and through the normal legal channels."
Winter's allegations were soon followed by accounts from other women who said they had experienced similar behavior from Lebsock, something which he denied.
"This story is not just a story of false allegations of sexual harassment," Lebsock said, according to KCNC. "I have been blackmailed and coerced and my rights have been violated."
Lebsock also spoke to The Denver Post about the party in May 2016.
"I’m extremely sorry that Rep. Winter has been hurt, but I can also say honestly that I do not remember ever saying anything inappropriate to Rep. Winter [that night]," he said.
Winter initially decided not to file a formal complaint against Lebsock after the incident. Instead, she asked for the matter to be dealt with privately.
"My biggest concern is that this has happened to others and this seems to be a pattern of behavior," she wrote in an email to Lebsock 10 days after the incident occurred. "I expect and need a higher standard from my caucus members."
When Winter subsequently heard about similar allegations other women made against Lebsock, she felt encouraged to go public.