The Colorado Supreme Court announced on Tuesday that it is asking other government branches for help in selecting independent investigators to look into allegations of sexual harassment and widespread sexism within the the state’s Judicial Branch.
Investigators will also look into allegations that a $2.5 million contract was awarded improperly to a former senior administrator. In early February, allegations emerged that former chief of staff Mindy Masias was awarded a training services contract in order to prevent her from filing a sexual harassment and discrimination lawsuit against the department. The Colorado Office of the State Auditor is conducting a separate investigation related to the allegations, led by the state’s top auditor, Dianne Ray.
The alleged misconduct within the Judicial Department was brought to light largely in a series of articles published by The Denver Post starting in 2019. Colorado’s highest court last week released an internal two-page memo, which outlined allegations of misconduct within the Judicial Branch relating to sexual misconduct, harassment and sexism.
“We’re disappointed and absolutely heartbroken by this situation, and nobody wants these investigations to go forward more than I do,” said Chief Justice Brian Boatright, who replaced former Chief Justice Nathan Coats on Jan. 1.
A panel will be assembled with representatives from the governor’s office, the attorney general’s office and the General Assembly to select the independent investigators, according to a news release from the Colorado Judicial Department.
The result will be a public report of all findings, including recommendations for procedural changes geared towards improving the systems in place to “ensure accountability, fairness and transparency” throughout the Judicial Branch, according to the news release.
Boatright is expected to discuss the independent investigation during the State of the Judiciary speech on Thursday, and the court expects to announce the members of the selection panel by the end of the week. Boatright has also requested he be notified and receive weekly updates on all misconduct complaints received by the department, according to the release.
“The people of Colorado deserve a judiciary that they know is being held accountable to the highest standards of professionalism and ethical behavior, regardless of title or position,” Boatright said in a written statement.