Gov. Ricketts, State Senators call out Charles Herbster following reports of sexual misconduct
LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts, along with every female State Senator, is condemning gubernatorial candidate Charles Herbster’s behavior, following a Nebraska Examiner story about the GOP frontrunner’s repeated sexual misconduct.
“This is beyond horrible,” Gov. Ricketts said. “Charles W. Herbster should beg forgiveness of the women he has preyed upon and seek treatment. Sexual assault is criminal behavior and should disqualify anyone from elected leadership. I encourage my fellow Nebraskans to respect, support, and stand with these survivors, who had the courage to tell the truth about what happened to them. These brave women have Susanne’s and my full support.”
The Nebraska Examiner detailed the stories of eight women, including a State Senator, who say Herbster groped them at public events. Republican State Sen. Julie Slama, in a statement, confirmed that as she walked by Herbster, he reached up her skirt, without her consent, and touched her inappropriately. The incident reportedly happened in the middle of a crowded ballroom at the Douglas County Republican Party’s annual Elephant Remembers dinner.
“Today’s Nebraska Examiner report about Charles Herbster sexually assaulting me in 2019, when I was 22 years old, is true. I indirectly referenced the assault in a February 2022 floor speech in the Legislature and prayed I would never have to relive this trauma. When the Nebraska Examiner contacted me about a witness account of my assault and the seven other women who shared their stories, I was not going to deny the truth. I am not seeking media attention or any other gain, I simply was not going to lie and say it did not occur. I would request my family’s privacy be respected at this difficult time,” Slama said.
All the incidents reported occurred between 2017 and this year, according to those involved. The women ranged in age from their late teens to mid-20s at the time of the incidents. The author of the article confirmed that all women who the Nebraska Examiner talked to were over the age of 18.
On Thursday, a bipartisan group of state senators signed a joint statement Wednesday, calling Herbster’s behavior “disqualifying”.
In a statement released Thursday, Herbster denied the sexual misconduct allegations and called the story a political hit piece carried out by Gov. Ricketts and his republican challenger Jim Pillen.
Herbster said in part, “These libelous accusations are 100% false. For over thirty years, I’ve employed hundreds of people. I’ve respected and empowered women to run my company, my farm and now my campaign. Not once has my integrity EVER been challenged in this manner.”
Herbster’s campaign manager Ellen Keast said their legal team is “taking every possible action to defend Charles’ honor and reputation”.
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