Apr 5, 2021 - News

Colorado judiciary's sexual harassment scandal faces lack of transparency

Colorado Supreme Court Chief Justice Brian D. Boatright, center, ahead of an address at the Capitol in February. Photo: AAron Ontiveroz/The Denver Post via Getty Images

The chief justice of the Colorado Supreme Court promised a "culture change" as he announced an independent investigation into allegations of sexual harassment within the judiciary.

But months later, the process to hire an outside investigator remains hidden from the public's view as the scandal continues to get worse.

  • A panel of lawmakers and other top officials spearheading the judicial investigation has met multiple times behind closed doors to decide the parameters of the inquiry.
  • But the judicial branch and three panel members refused numerous requests in recent weeks to answer questions about their work.

Catch up quick: The calls for an investigation began after the public release of an explosive memo that detailed allegations of sexual harassment, misconduct and discrimination at all levels of the judiciary.

  • The controversy began 18 months ago regarding a $2.5 million contract awarded to prevent a former administrator from going public about the misconduct in a lawsuit.

The latest: The memo is just "the tip of the iceberg" when it comes to problems within the judiciary, employees told the Denver Post.

  • In a new report published yesterday, seven women who spoke anonymously described an environment rife with sexism that goes far beyond the original allegations.
  • Those who spoke out about the problems were retaliated against.

The other side: The state court administrator did not directly address the allegations but told the newspaper that Chief Justice Brian Boatright was committed to resolving the issues.

The big picture: The lack of transparency stands in contrast to the mostly open discussions held by the legislative branch when it hired a firm to investigate its toxic workplace culture in 2018.

This story first appeared in the Axios Denver newsletter, designed to help readers get smarter, faster on the most consequential news unfolding in their own backyard.


Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios Denver.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more

More Denver stories

No stories could be found


Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios Denver.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more