Denver Mayor Michael Hancock issued an apology statement Tuesday where he admitted to sending sexually suggestive text messages to a police officer who was assigned to his security detail during his first year in office.

He acknowledged that his behavior then — six years ago — was “inappropriate,” after the detective alleged in a new interview that she suffered sexual harassment.

In an interview with 9Wants to Know, Hancock said he regrets sending the text messages and that he was “too casual” in his correspondence with his subordinate.

He said it was a little embarrassing, “Apologizing to my wife and family and Detective Branch-Wise, to the people of Denver.”

“This role I play in my family and the people of Denver is very, very sacred and important to me -- I give it everything I have,” Hancock said. “I never want to embarrass this city and I certainly don’t want to embarrass my wife and children. I’ve done that here and that’s why it’s important to me to lean in and take responsibility.”

In several text messages from 2012 that the Denver police officer, Detective Leslie Branch-Wise, provided — those which Hancock did not deny sending — the mayor told her that she made it hard for him to concentrate at work.

After spotting her on TV at a Denver Nuggets game in that year, he texted: “You look sexy in all that black.” Another time, he complimented her haircut and said: “You make it hard on a brotha to keep it correct every day.”

The detective spoke publicly for the first time on Tuesday night about the texts in an exclusive interview aired by Denver7, the television partner of the Denver Post.

“I just want people to know that I’m a woman, I have children and I’m a victim of sexual harassment,” Branch-Wise said. “It made me physically sick. It was extremely scary. And I dealt with it at that time the best way that I could.”

“It was a hard time in my life,” Branch-Wise said. “I didn't have anyone to tell, I didn't have anyone to talk to. That's my boss."

Denver Mayor_2
Denver Mayor Michael Hancock has been accused of sexual harassment by a former member of his security team, Feb. 27, 2018. In this photo, he speaks during TogetHER with the Women's Foundation of Colorado and former first lady Michelle Obama at Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado, July 25, 2017. Getty Images

His office issued a formal statement saying: "I am here today to apologize for my own words from that time — text messages that were too familiar and unprofessional. But let me be clear — my behavior did not involve sexual advances or inappropriate physical contact. During Detective Branch-Wise’s time on the security team, we became friends, but my text messages in 2012 blurred the lines between being a friend and being a boss."

Hancock stated to the Denver Post that while he does not believe his behavior toward Branch-Wise amounted to sexual harassment — characterizing his intention to send those texts as friendly banter — he currently realizes the texts were inappropriate to send.

"Detective Branch-Wise served with me probably eight or nine months. We became friends, and I blurred the lines between our friendship and being a boss," Hancock said. "And these text messages are inappropriate. They’re too familiar, too casual. For that, I accept responsibility, and I apologize."

However, he made it clear that he intended no sexual advances, and "our relationship did not include any inappropriate physical touching."

Branch-Wise said in the interview that she doesn't intend to file a harassment claim against the mayor.

Hancock has said that he plans to seek a third term as mayor in the upcoming May 2019 election.