Trump-backed Nebraska gubernatorial candidate accused of sexual misconduct by 8 women

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Nebraska gubernatorial candidate Charles Herbster was accused of sexual misconduct by eight women, prompting a bipartisan group of state senators to call for an end to his campaign.

“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,” the statement, which was signed by Slama and a dozen other state senators, said

The statement called the allegations, which were first reported by the Nebraska Examiner, “an issue of character and basic human decency.”

“Charles Herbster’s behavior is completely unacceptable for anyone, especially someone seeking a public office of authority and trust,” it also said. “Herbster’s actions as outlined by the Nebraska Examiner render him unfit to serve.” 

In her own statement, Slama, a Republican, confirmed the report about Herbster assaulting her in 2019 when she was 22 years old.

“I am not seeking media attention or any other gain, I simply was not going to lie and say it did not occur,” she said, adding that she requested privacy for her family. 

The Examiner reported that Herbster reached up Slama’s skirt and touched her inappropriately without her consent. It also included reports from other women who said he had groped them or touched them inappropriately between 2017 and this year. 

But Herbster denied the allegations on Thursday, calling the story a “ridiculous, unfounded dirty political trick.”

“These libelous accusations are 100% false. For 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,” his statement added.

Also in a statement on Thursday, Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts (R) condemned Herbster’s reported actions and offered his full support to the survivors involved in the matter. 

“This is beyond horrible,” the governor’s statement 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.” 

In October, former President Trump endorsed Herbster in the gubernatorial race’s Republican primary field.

Last year, Ricketts admitted that he had requested that Trump not endorse anyone in this race.

Meanwhile, Ricketts announced in January that he was endorsing University of Nebraska regent Jim Pillen (R) to succeed him as governor. 

The primary for the state’s race for governor is set to take place next month. 

Tags Pete Ricketts

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