Two Colorado Lawmakers Wore Bulletproof Vests on House Floor In Wake of a Sexual Harassment Scandal

Two lawmakers in Colorado have announced they have been wearing bulletproof vests to work in the Capitol due to fears of retaliation for speaking out on the behalf of accusers in the wake of a sexual harassment scandal in the statehouse.

Colorado State Representative and the assistant House majority leader, Alec Garnett, and Representative Matt Gray admitted to the House chamber on Friday that the two were wearing bulletproof vests during Representative Steve Lesbock’s hearing, the Denver Post reported.

Lesbock was expelled from the house on a 52-9 vote after he had been accused of sexually harassing multiple women. The Democrat was pushed to be removed by colleagues, and Garnett said he had threatened him.

“He threatened to take me down,” Garnett told the Denver Post.

Garnett took the floor to defend Representative Faith Winter, a Democrat, who was one of the women who accused Lesbock of sexual harassment. He told lawmakers on the House floor that he was “sick of wearing my bulletproof vest,” and said he had been wearing it for almost a month.

“I fear for retaliation. I am in the chamber of the House of Representatives, and I’m wearing a bulletproof vest because I fear retaliation for telling the truth and standing up for victims of sexual harassment. I’ve been wearing it for three weeks.”

Gray said he used to hide his vest in his garage, so he wouldn’t have to explain to his children why he was wearing protection.

“I put mine on in the parking garage so my kids don't have to see it," Gray said on the House floor. "I don't have to explain to them what it is."

Garnett has been helping Winter since the scandal unfolded. He learned about the harassment during a party after the 2016 legislative session ended, where Lebsock allegedly became angry with Winter for turning him down and used suggestive and expletive language.

“Members, I am an honorably discharged Marine Corps veteran. And if someone walked in here—members, you would have had me here to protect you,” said Lebsock after learning about the bulletproof vests. “Even the ones that don’t like me. I’m just hoping you know that.”

The Colorado State Patrol has said it did not receive reports of threats made toward lawmakers involved with the expulsion vote or the sexual harassment scandal.