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Mayoral candidate Gerry Horak accused of harassment

graphic depicting a satellite beacon with the text "Breaking News" in all caps
(Graphic Illustration by Malia Berry | The Collegian)

Multiple women have come forward alleging Gerry Horak, Fort Collins mayoral candidate, had harassed them, according to The Coloradoan

Two former City Council members, Lisa Poppaw and Kristin Stephens, both had experience with Horak’s inappropriate comments, calling it Fort Collins’ “worst-kept secret,” according to The Coloradoan. 

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Comments ranged from Horak stating that Stephens’ outfit was “turning (him) on,” according to The Coloradoan, to objectifying statements about women’s bodies. 

And though witnesses confirm the women’s claims, Horak denies the accusations. 

“I didn’t say those things,” Horak said in an interview with The Coloradoan. “I don’t talk that way. I don’t think that way.”

Further, he said that the two women are working for the candidates running against him in the City Council race, calling the reasoning “politically motivated,” according to The Coloradoan. 

City Manager Darin Atteberry said he had spoken to Horak on more than one occasion about his alleged behavior. Additionally, Mayor Wade Troxell said that he knew of the accusations but never discussed them with Horak directly. 

Poppaw told The Coloradoan that she didn’t come forward because women in politics are “excluded” from the conversation if they bring up concerns regarding “sexually inappropriate comments and behavior.” 

Stephens said that she had not come forward because “nobody had ever asked,” according to The Coloradoan.  

“You have this sort of reckoning within yourself of, ‘Do I come forward?’ knowing that this is a bombshell,” Stephens said in an interview with The Coloradoan. “But I also believe in telling the truth. I believe in telling the truth on behalf of other women, and I believe my faith calls me to tell the truth.” 

Laura Studley can be reached as news@collegian.com or on Twitter @laurastudley_

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