Friday, October 7, 2022

Julie Slama says she was sexually assaulted by Charles Herbster

Republican gubernatorial candidate Charles Herbster and his campaign called accusations against him of sexual assault “libelous” and “100% false” in a statement Thursday afternoon, and accused political rivals Jim Pillen and Pete Ricketts of political dirty tricks. A report published Thursday by the Nebraska Examiner said eight women, including state Sen. Julie Slama, have alleged Herbster of sexual misconduct, with all of the incidents happening between 2017 and 2022.Slama confirmed the Examiner’s account in a statement Thursday morning, saying she was touched inappropriately by Herbster during a Republican event in 2019.“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,” Slama said in a statement. “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.”In his statement, Herbster unequivocally denied the accusations.”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,” said Herbster. “Not once has my integrity EVER been challenged in this manner. It’s only after I’ve threatened the stranglehold the establishment has on this state do they stoop to lies this large. This story is a ridiculous, unfounded dirty political trick being carried out by Pete Ricketts and Jim Pillen.”Slama’s reference to the assault came during a legislative session on Feb. 22, when she and female colleagues spoke out on other incidents during a discussion about former state Sen. Mike Groene’s conduct.”Early on when I got into politics at age 22 in Nebraska, I was groped at a political event by someone who is not a member of this body and not a current or former office holder,” Slama said on Feb. 22. “I buried it because I’d gone through a worse trauma in college and tried to minimize it just as I tried to minimize it when I’ve been touched inappropriately on this floor and in committee by members of this body.”That event in 2019 was shortly after Slama had been appointed her senate seat by Ricketts.Herbster has not been officially charged with sexual assault. Ricketts, who has endorsed Pillen in the governor’s race, issued a statement Thursday condemning the alleged misconduct and crediting the women for speaking out. 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,” Ricketts said in a statement. “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.”In the Herbster campaign statement, campaign manager Ellen Keast said the Examiner report and the accusations in it defied common sense.”First, Ricketts and Pillen went after Charles’ late wife, Judy. , they secretly launched and funded a dark money group to attack Charles,” said Keast. “. Now, they have taken their lies to the liberal media. The liberal website that published this garbage story is a sham news site funded by some of the largest liberal donors in the nation. “In a statement, Aaron Sanderford of the Nebraska Examiner said the women featured in the article had experienced trauma and were “extremely reluctant” to discuss what happened to them.”They are conservative women politically — some backed Charles Herbster — and they had nothing to gain from coming forward,” said Sanderford. “I corroborated the information every woman gave me, and that kind of reporting takes time.”The Herbster campaign accused Ricketts of carrying a personal vendetta against Herbster.A bipartisan group of Nebraska state senators representing every female member of the legislature also released a statement decrying Herbster’s alleged actions: “We commend the brave women who have stepped forward to tell the truth about what they endured at the hands of Charles Herbster, including our friend and colleague, Senator Julie Slama. Sexual assault is despicable and damaging. This is not a question of politics—it is an issue of character and basic human decency. Charles Herbster’s behavior is completely unacceptable to anyone, especially someone seeking a public office of authority and trust. Herbster’s actions as outlined by the Nebraska Examiner render him unfit to serve. “The statement was signed by Sen. Joni Albrecht, Sen. Carol Blood, Sen. Machaela Cavanaugh, Sen. Jen Day, Sen. Wendy DeBoer, Sen. Suzanne Geist, Sen. Megan Hunt, Sen. Lou Ann Linehan, Sen. Patty Pansing-Brooks, Sen. Rita Sanders, Sen. Julie Slama, Sen. Lynne Walz and Sen. Anna Wishart. Nebraska Democratic Party chair Jane Kleeb called Herbster’s alleged behavior “reprehensible” in a statement Thursday. Pillen also issued a statement Thursday deploring the alleged abuse.” be examples to our families, communities, and the state of Nebraska,” Pillen said in a state. “Sexually assaulting women should be disqualifying for anyone seeking to serve as a leader. Suzanne and I are praying for the women targeted by Charles W. Herbster.” In a statement Thursday, Republican gubernatorial candidate and state Sen. Brett Lindstrom urged people to “stand with the victims.” “I was disgusted reading the stories of my colleague, Senator Slama, and the other brave women who came forward today,” Lindstrom said in a statement. “As a husband and father of two young daughters, this is personal. We need to listen to and stand with the victims.”

Republican gubernatorial candidate Charles Herbster and his campaign called accusations against him of sexual assault “libelous” and “100% false” in a statement Thursday afternoon, and accused political rivals Jim Pillen and Pete Ricketts of political dirty tricks.

A report published Thursday by the Nebraska Examiner said eight women, including state Sen. Julie Slama, have alleged Herbster of sexual misconduct, with all of the incidents happening between 2017 and 2022.

Slama confirmed the Examiner’s account in a statement Thursday morning, saying she was touched inappropriately by Herbster during a Republican event in 2019.

“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,” Slama said in a statement. “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.”

In his statement, Herbster unequivocally denied the accusations.

“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,” said Herbster. “Not once has my integrity EVER been challenged in this manner. It’s only after I’ve threatened the stranglehold the establishment has on this state do they stoop to lies this large. This story is a ridiculous, unfounded dirty political trick being carried out by Pete Ricketts and Jim Pillen.”

Slama’s reference to the assault came during a legislative session on Feb. 22, when she and female colleagues spoke out on other incidents during a discussion about former state Sen. Mike Groene’s driver.

“Early on when I got into politics at age 22 in Nebraska, I was groped at a political event by someone who is not a member of this body and not a current or former office holder,” Slama said on Feb. 22. “I buried it because I’d gone through a worse trauma in college and tried to minimize it just as I tried to minimize it when I’ve been touched inappropriately on this floor and in committee by members of this body.”

That event in 2019 was shortly after Slama had been appointed her senate seat by Ricketts.

Herbster has not been officially charged with sexual assault.

Ricketts, who has endorsed Pillen in the governor’s race, issued a statement Thursday condemning the alleged misconduct and crediting the women for speaking out.

“This is beyond awful. 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,” Ricketts said in a statement. “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.”

In the Herbster campaign statement, campaign manager Ellen Keast said the Examiner report and the accusations in it defied common sense.

“First, Ricketts and Pillen went after Charles’ late wife, Judy. Then, they secretly launched and funded a dark money group to attack Charles,” said Keast. “. Now, they have taken their lies to the liberal media. The liberal website that published this garbage story is a sham news site funded by some of the largest liberal donors in the nation.”

In a statement, Aaron Sanderford of the Nebraska Examiner said the women featured in the article had experienced trauma and were “extremely reluctant” to discuss what happened to them.

“They are conservative women politically — some backed Charles Herbster — and they had nothing to gain from coming forward,” said Sanderford. “I corroborated the information every woman gave me, and that kind of reporting takes time.”

The Herbster campaign accused Ricketts of carrying a personal vendetta against Herbster.

A bipartisan group of Nebraska state senators representing every female member of the legislature also released a statement decrying Herbster’s alleged actions:

“We commend the brave women who have stepped forward to tell the truth about what they endured at the hands of Charles Herbster, including our friend and colleague, Senator Julie Slama. Sexual assault is despicable and damaging. This is not a question of politics— “it is an issue of character and basic human decency. Charles Herbster’s behavior is completely unacceptable to anyone, especially someone seeking a public office of authority and trust. Herbster’s actions as outlined by the Nebraska Examiner render him unfit to serve.”

The statement was signed by Sen. Joni Albrecht, Sen. Carol Blood, Sen. Machaela Cavanaugh, Sen. Jen Day, Sen. Wendy DeBoer, Sen. Suzanne Geist, Sen. Megan Hunt, Sen. Lou Ann Linehan, Sen. Patty Pansing-Brooks, Sen. Rita Sanders, Sen. Julie Slama, Sen. Lynne Walz and Sen. Anna Wishart.

Nebraska Democratic Party chair Jane Kleeb called Herbster’s alleged behavior “reprehensible” in a statement Thursday.

Pillen also issued a statement Thursday deploring the alleged abuse.

“All Nebraskans are called to be examples to our families, and Nebraska leaders are called to be examples to our families, communities, and the state of Nebraska,” Pillen said in a state. “Sexually assaulting women should be disqualifying for anyone seeking to serve as a leader. Suzanne and I are praying for the women targeted by Charles W. Herbster.”

In a statement Thursday, Republican gubernatorial candidate and state Sen. Brett Lindstrom urged people to “stand with the victims.”

“I was disgusted reading the stories of my colleague, Senator Slama, and the other brave women who came forward today,” Lindstrom said in a statement. “As a husband and father of two young daughters, this is personal. We need to listen to and stand with the victims.”

Latest news
Related news

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here