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Representative Rochelle Galindo was targeted by a recall effort before news of the police reports broke.
Representative Rochelle Galindo was targeted by a recall effort before news of the police reports broke.
Courtesy of Rochelle Galindo

Rochelle Galindo: No Sex Charge, but Citation for Giving Alcohol to Minor

Former representative Rochelle Galindo, a Democratic member of the Colorado General Assembly from Greeley, resigned on May 12 amid allegations of sexual misconduct leveled by a former staff member. While the Greeley Police Department announced yesterday that Galindo will not be charged with a sex crime because investigators couldn't find enough corroborating evidence, she and campaign manager Fabio Cordeiro have been cited in a separate case for providing alcohol to minors.

Thus far, Galindo hasn't responded to multiple reports about the latest development. But on May 12, she posted statements on her Facebook page announcing her resignation.

The first passage read: "It has been the honor of my life to serve as the Representative for State House District 50. I have served my community to the best of my ability and have given a voice for the underrepresented. With that, it is with great sadness that I announce that I will be resigning my seat as the Representative for State House District 50 effective immediately."

She continued: "The allegations against me are false. That said, they will make my fight against the pending recall effort untenable. I will not put my constituents through what will surely be a recall campaign based on political smear tactics and false allegations. Instead, I will resign my seat as the elected representative of House District 50, effective immediately."

Westword profiled Galindo last June in a post headlined "Dems in Greeley Could Send the First Lesbian Latinx Millennial to Statehouse." The piece traced Galindo's work as a youthful organizer for President Barack Obama's 2012 presidential campaign and her successful 2015 run for Greeley City Council, conducted during her senior year at the University of Northern Colorado. She became the first openly gay person to ever serve on that panel.

Galindo subsequently won the Democratic primary for District 50, and last November, she defeated Republican Michael Thuener by nearly 7 percent. But her support for red-flag legislation and a controversial oil and gas reform bill put her at the center of two recall efforts. The first was put forward by Mary Achziger and Karen Kornins, who had until June 3 to collect 5,696 signatures — the number designated to trigger a recall election. The second, submitted under the auspices of Joe Neville, brother of Senate Minority Leader Patrick Neville, also named Senator Jeff Bridges and Representative Meg Froelich.

Such tactics have been successful in the past: Remember that Senator John Morse and Representative Angela Giron were recalled in 2013 for their support of gun-reform legislation approved in the wake of the July 2012 Aurora theater shooting. But the latest two efforts hadn't gathered much steam, with some pundits dismissing them as political stunts.

The police inquiry quickly changed that dynamic. Speaker of the House KC Becker, who confirmed the sexual-misconduct accusation, and House Majority Leader Alec Garnett quickly issued a statement revealing that they'd accepted Galindo's resignation.

More details emerged on May 23, with the release of a 21-page Greeley police report. The document reveals that authorities in Greeley began looking into the matter on May 6, after being contacted by a source who'd first reached out to the Complete Colorado website. Before long, detectives chatted with a nineteen-year-old volunteer staffer who said that during the 2018 campaign, she drank alcohol and smoked marijuana with Galindo, after which she "would get really drunk and the sex would happen." The staffer added that she "didn't remember much about the incidents but felt she was being taken advantage of."

The staff member told police reps that she didn't want to be the person to press charges against Galindo, in part because she feared it would hamper a career in politics. Investigators later determined that there wasn't enough evidence to go forward with a sexual-assault allegation. However, a separate report about alcohol allegedly provided by Galindo and Cordeiro to a different under-ager — it was filed on May 15, after the resignation — resulted in the two being cited.

A vacancy committee empowered by the Colorado Democratic Party is expected to choose Galindo's replacement at a meeting on June 2.

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