Nebraska state lawmaker Mike Groene investigated

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LINCOLN, NEB. —
A Nebraska state lawmaker who resigned after admitting that he took images of a feminine subordinate in his workplace with out her permission acted in a “boorish, brainless and weird” method however didn’t commit unlawful sexual discrimination or harassment, in accordance with an investigator employed by the Legislature.

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In a report launched Wednesday, the investigator concluded that former state Sen. Mike Groene’s behaviour was “wholly unprofessional and inappropriate” and that he would have confronted disciplinary motion in a private-sector job.

“Mr. Groene’s actions can greatest be described as boorish, brainless and weird, particularly for the office,” the investigator, Lincoln lawyer Tara Paulson, wrote in her report. However she added that his conduct “doesn’t represent illegal discrimination or harassment.”

Groene resigned in February after admitting that he took the images of a feminine staffer. Groene, a blunt-spoken, typically abrasive Republican who clashed with Democratic colleagues, additionally ended his candidacy to turn out to be a College of Nebraska Regent.

Paulson mentioned she reviewed greater than 50 pages of screenshots that Groene’s former staffer had taken together with her telephone of the pictures she discovered whereas organizing Groene’s laptop computer recordsdata. Paulson mentioned the staffer was totally clothed in each {photograph}, and most have been taken whereas she was speaking or gesturing.

The report mentioned Groene emailed the images to himself with cryptic topic strains corresponding to “Inmd pic,” “Inmdsm,” “PAGEBOY,” “BLONDE” and “LEGS.” It mentioned one e mail had a topic line of “Rear tight,” with a picture that appeared to have been zoomed in on the staffer’s buttocks.

Paulson mentioned in her report that she discovered no proof that Groene had shared the images with others, though Groene has admitted that he despatched a few of the images to his spouse.

However she mentioned she did not have entry to Groene’s laptop computer due to an ongoing Nebraska State Patrol investigation into the identical allegations. She mentioned she might reopen her investigation and alter her conclusions if new proof surfaces.

Paulson’s report cited federal and state legal guidelines that outline illegal harassment as “hostile work surroundings” harassment and “quid professional quo” harassment.

The report mentioned hostile work surroundings harassment comes within the type of undesirable sexual advances, sexually abusive language or different behaviour that creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive work surroundings. Quid professional quo harassment happens when an worker’s response to unwelcome sexual conduct is used as the idea for employment selections.

The staffer who was photographed, Kristina Konecko, mentioned she did not really feel snug commenting concerning the report but due to the continuing Nebraska State Patrol probe.

In an announcement, she mentioned: “I recognize and am grateful to Mr. Groene hiring me all these years in the past. Incomes his belief was like a badge of honour for me. Submitting the grievance was one of the troublesome issues I’ve ever completed. It was like betraying a buddy.”

Konecko, who consented to being named within the story, advised The Related Press beforehand that nobody pressured her to return ahead with the grievance in opposition to Groene or tried to cease her.

Witnesses advised Paulson that Groene later admitted that his behavioral was inappropriate and that he regretted his actions. Groene has beforehand mentioned he apologized to Konecko and had a cordial, skilled relationship together with her.

Groene declined to take part within the investigation. However he mentioned in an announcement that he regretted resigning and that his repute had “been drug by means of the mud in a political witch hunt.”

“The legislative report confirmed what I mentioned from the start,” Groene mentioned. “I did nothing illegal. In no method did I harass worker. All images on my laptop have been by no means shared and all have been taken in a public setting.”

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