A Colorado Democrat has resigned after being accused of exposing himself............. - Mercedes-Benz Forum

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A Colorado Democrat has resigned after being accused of exposing himself.............

Garcia shocks House, resigns
The state representative issues a statement calling the incident with a lobbyist "consensual."

Former state Rep. Michael Garcia, who resigned Friday amid allegations that he exposed himself and made lewd comments to a female lobbyist, termed the Jan. 7 incident "consensual" in a statement released Friday afternoon.

"Initial press reports are highly inaccurate regarding my alleged conduct. The other party and I engaged in consensual conduct that was inappropriate, given my position in the legislature and the fact that the other party is a lobbyist," Garcia said in a statement.

The Aurora Democrat, who had been House Assistant Majority Leader, referred reporters to his attorney.

House Speaker Andrew Romanoff's office announced Garcia's resignation shortly before 9 a.m.

The lobbyist, who spoke to The Denver Post on Thursday on condition of anonymity, said Garcia exposed himself to her last month and said, "Wouldn't this be real nice inside of you?"

The woman said she decided to bring the issue to Romanoff's attention after four other female lobbyists told her of similar encounters with Garcia stretching back seven years.

The woman said she and Garcia were playing pool at the Lancer Lounge in Denver with a group of lobbyists after a fundraiser for Garcia on Jan. 7. He exposed himself when the rest of the group had left that side of the bar, she said.

"He just walked around the pool table and unzipped his pants and pulled everything out," she said.

She has not filed criminal charges.

The lobbyist said her attorney met with Romanoff's office this week. Romanoff said he could not confirm any meeting and could not comment on the matter because House rules prohibit him from discussing a sexual harassment complaint or even acknowledging whether one was filed.

"We have acted as swiftly and as responsibly as possible," Romanoff said.

The female lobbyist who made the allegations against Garcia said Friday she was relieved by his resignation.

"I just want to leave it as is," the lobbyist said. "The House took this issue very seriously. I commend House Speaker Romanoff for his actions."

House minority leader Mike May called Garcia's resignation a "sad ending to a great legislative career." May said he spoke with Romanoff late Thursday about the matter. And while he said he has no reason to believe House leadership protected Garcia, May said he wants to examine the House's rules to make sure they are adequate to deal with such situations.

"We do need to protect those who are victims, and our rules should do that," May said. "But the rules also shouldn't protect a public official beyond normal."

Garcia's name was not called out at the House roll call this morning, and his name had been taped over on the board that shows how representatives had voted.

His brief resignation letter was read on the House floor this morning.

"Mr. Speaker, I hereby submit my resignation from the Colorado House of Representatives," it read.

In his statement released this afternoon through a law firm, Garcia continued: "The interests of the state are greater than my own. As a result, I have made the difficult decision to resign. I apologize for any hardship this has caused my constituents, friends, family and colleagues."

Iris Eytan, an attorney for Reilly, Pozner and Connelly, the firm that released the statement from Garcia, said she could not go into what specifically happened at the bar but said the lawmaker had not "acted suddenly and immorally."

"What he is saying is something occurred between these two people, and whatever it was, was consensual," Eytan said. "He respects her privacy. He doesn't believe it's fair to air their private issues in public."

Garcia, 34, worked as coordinator for the Youth Council for Public Policy at the University of Colorado at Boulder until the end of the first semester, a school official said.

Garcia was first elected to the House in 2000 and has been re-elected three times.
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