State police in Colorado have reportedly posted signage and changed the access code to a previously unmarked women’s restroom inside the state Capitol building in Denver, based on complaints that a male Democratic state senator had frequently been using the room, according to media reports.
The lawmaker in question, state Sen. Daniel Kagan, disputes the accusation, saying he used the women’s restroom just one time, by mistake, the Washington Free Beacon reported.
But in March, state Sen. Beth Martinez Humenik filed a workplace sexual harassment complaint against Kagan, contending he had used the women’s restroom “multiple times.”
She claimed, in an interview with KUNC radio, she personally encountered Kagan in the restroom and asked “What are you doing in here?,” and claims other women who work in the Capitol have had “similar experiences.”
Also last month, the state Senate posted signs indicating “men” and “women,” outside its unmarked restrooms, Denver’s KUSA-TV reported.
A report in March by Colorado Public Radio said the allegations against Kagan are part of a broader feud between the state’s Republicans and Democrats over sexual harassment issues.
The report mentions that Kagan was among a group of Democratic senators who called for the ouster of Republican state Sen. Randy Baumgardner, who had been accused of groping an aide in 2016.
“Many butt-slappers and thigh-strokers fancy that they are merely flirting and flattering,” Kagan said before the Senate, in remarks that, Colorado Public Radio reported, irked some of Kagan's Senate colleagues.
Baumgardner remains a senator, having survived an expulsion vote earlier this week, but said in a letter that he agreed to take sensitivity training and resign as chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee, the report said.
Meanwhile, the nonprofit organization Compass Colorado published excerpts of a recorded phone conversation between Colorado’s nonpartisan Senate secretary, Effie Ameen, and Heather White, communication supervisor for the Colorado State Patrol, in which Ameen requests that the access code to the restroom be changed.
Ameen: I wanted to change the code, because I know the code we have on there is sort of our generic one that we use like for everything so it’s not shocking that people would know it but ummm . . .
White: So what’s his name?
Ameen: It’s one of my senators. It’s Senator ... Senator Kagan.