A group of four female Nebraska state senators has launched a fund to support what they call “survivors and witnesses of sexual misconduct” by Republican candidate for governor Charles Herbster.
Herbster was accused by 8 women of groping them at different times since 2019 with State Senator Julie Slama the only one to release her name.
Herbster blasted the allegations as a political smear campaign by supporters of fellow candidate Jim Pillen. He then filed a defamation suit against Slama, who filed a countersuit and wants Herbster to give a deposition just 4 days before the election.
Senators Lou Ann Linehan, Joni Albrech, Suzanne Geist, and Rita Sanders say they started their fund with the website herbstervictimwitnessfund.com to help any other women who might be too intimidated to come forward with new allegations or are worried about legal costs if Herbster sues them.
Geist and Albrecht told reporters that after they’d signed a letter with the other female senators calling on Herbster to drop out of the race, they received “intimidating” letters from his legal team telling them not to delete relevant items from their laptops in preparation for a possible lawsuit.
Herbster’s campaign attacked the 4 senators immediately after their news conference as being part of “another attempt by the Jim Pillen campaign and Pete Ricketts establishment machine to sling mud” at Herbster because all 4 have been financially supported by Ricketts in the past and were early supporters of Pillen.
The four acknowledged they’ve endorse Pillen, but stressed their actions aren’t about politics but about sending a loud and clear message that survivors and witnesses of sexual assault won’t be bullied or intimiated into silence.
Geist said any time the justice system is used to keep people from telling the truth, it hurts sexual assault survivors and, in turn, the entire state – adding that she won’t be intimidated and calling Herbster’s legal threats “reprehensible.”