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Investigation finds Nebraska lawmaker's behavior wasn't sexual harassment

Nebraska Senator Photos
Posted at 4:21 PM, Apr 14, 2022

An investigation in Nebraska has concluded that a Nebraska state lawmaker who resigned after admitting that he took photos of a female subordinate without her permission acted in a "boorish, brainless and bizarre" manner but did not commit illegal sexual discrimination or harassment.

Lincoln attorney Tara Paulson wrote in her report that was released Wednesday that former state Sen. Mike Groene's behavior was "wholly unprofessional and inappropriate" and that he would have faced disciplinary action in a private-sector job.

Groene resigned in February after admitting that he took the photos of a female staffer. Groene, a blunt-spoken, often abrasive Republican who clashed with Democratic colleagues, also ended his candidacy to become a University of Nebraska Regent.

Paulson wrote that Groene emailed photos to himself with subject lines like, “Inmd pic,” “Inmdsm,” “PAGEBOY,” “BLONDE” and “LEGS.” 

Kristina Konecko, the staffer who was photographed without permission wrote in a statement, “I appreciate and am grateful to Mr. Groene hiring me all those years ago. Earning his trust was like a badge of honor for me. Filing the complaint was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. It was like betraying a friend.”

Groene would not participate in the probe and said he regretted resigning and said in a statement that his reputation was "drug through the mud in a political witch hunt.”

“The legislative report confirmed what I said from the beginning,” Groene said. “I did nothing unlawful. In no manner did I harass an employee. All photos on my computer were never shared and all were taken in a public setting.”