I have been asked to respond to allegations about a misdemeanor charge from over 32 years ago.Glenn, an El Paso County commissioner, is challenging incumbent Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet.
I am going to say a lot here, but I want to say a few things up front:
I told the truth when I said I have never been arrested. I have never been handcuffed or fingerprinted. I have never appeared in court as a defendant.
I do not remember much about the night of Nov. 20, 1983. I understand that my dad made a complaint against me, but it was dropped nearly immediately—which is why I never knew about it.
Like a lot of Colorado families, we had to deal with domestic violence growing up.
I understand why some people might say, “How can he not remember something like this?”
I want to do my best to explain that: the painful truth is that my parents’ marriage was violent. This was not the first night my father attacked my mother, and maybe more sadly, this wasn’t the worst time it happened—not even close.
When you grow up in a violent home, the fights, the screaming, the pain all blur together. To survive, you block as much of it out of your head as you can in the moment. You try to forget it going forward. What happened that night was one in a long series of incidents between my parents. In that sense, it was not really memorable.
November 20, 1983
Here's what I do know now about that night: My father hit my mother, and I got between them to try and protect her. The police were called. He claimed to the police that I hit him. I do not believe I ever hit him. My mother swears I did not hit him either, but it wouldn't have been beyond him at the time to claim I did. I do not remember ever talking to a police officer. I certainly do not remember signing anything for the police.
Trying all these years later to piece together what we learned this week, I think it’s likely that the police showed up and took everyone’s information. I think my dad initially wanted to press charges that night and a report was filed. I know that a few weeks later my mother and I were called into a meeting in a Judge’s chambers. He asked us a few questions and then sent us home. That’s the last thing we definitively know.
I only have these details now because of what my mother told me this past week. In fact, this was the very first time we’d spoken about that evening in the 32 years since it happened. It’s probably hard to understand this unless you grew up in the kind of environment that I did.
This was a very hard period for my dad and I. We barely spoke in the years that followed. With that said, I am deeply grateful that towards the end of his life we were able to reconcile.
Years later, when a reporter asked me if I had ever been arrested, I said no because I honestly did not remember this event. When I expressed a belief that I had never been arrested, I was being honest.
I did not plan to talk about the violence I grew up with in this campaign. I did not want to put my mother through reliving the agony of this period in our lives, and honestly, I did not want to have to relive it myself. I do not like thinking about this time in our lives. I do not like talking about it.
Over the last day or so, Mom and I both have shed a lot of tears talking about that night, trying to make sense of what happened. I wish I had done more to protect her. She wishes she had done more to protect me.
I want to use this moment to remind people that our family’s story is not unique. In Colorado, more than 17,000 people are victims of domestic violence every year.
We have to do so much better. We have to stop the cycle of violence affecting so many of our communities. We have to love each other.
These are painful memories for me, but I am blessed. I got free of the violence. My dad and I were able to rebuild our relationship before he passed away.
As a kid, there was not much I could do to stop the violence in our home. When I got older, as a father, I did everything I could to raise my children with a father that loved them, protected them and made them feel safe.
In our family, we’ve stopped the cycle of violence. I pray the same for other Colorado families confronting abuse in the home. They need to know they are not alone, that they do not need to be ashamed, and that there is help for them.
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