Sat. Apr 13th, 2024

Nebraska lawmaker faces calls to resign after invoking colleague’s name in book’s rape scene passage

By 37ci3 Mar19,2024

Senator Steve Halloran of Nebraska, a Republican, has since faced calls to resign inserted included a colleague’s name in a passage he read during a floor discussion from a book rape scene that contains graphic details.

Halloran apologized on the Senate floor Tuesday morning, defending his decision to read the passage but saying it was a “mistake” to refer to his colleagues.

“I apologize for cutting out the senators’ names in the public hearings when I read the transcript, the transcribed testimony, referring to a book that is required reading in some schools and in some schools,” he said. “It was a tough thing to read. No, I wasn’t trivializing the rape. I was reading from a book that was required reading for some students. Should I have named senators? No. Sometimes we do things on the floor. In the middle of a statement we shouldn’t.”

The censored statements came during a debate on the proposed bill on Monday. Bill 441Targeting obscenity and pornography in K-12 schools.

Halloran was reading “Successful,” Alice Sebold’s memoir about being raped in college, and she repeatedly called out “Sen. Cavanaugh” as she read directly from the section describing the sexual assault. He did not specify whether he was referring to Sen. Machaela Cavanaugh of Nebraska or her brother, Sen. John Cavanaugh of Nebraska, both Democrats. In his apology Tuesday, he said his comments were originally directed at John Cavanaugh, who spoke before him.

Sen. Machaela Cavanaugh criticized Halloran in emotional comments on the floor later Monday. “You don’t know anything about someone else’s life. And I can tell you that women in this body have been sexually assaulted,” she said.

Halloran and both senators, the Cavanaughs, did not respond to requests for comment Tuesday.

On Tuesday morning, Republican Speaker John Arch said he wanted to apologize to Sen. Machaela Cavanaugh and all members of the legislature, especially female senators. He also announced that he plans to vote in favor of the measure.

“I do not accept the reading of a graphic rape scene on the floor of the legislature or the passage of that passage being directed personally at another member or members of this legislature, even if it is to make a point,” he said. “Despite the R-rated warning, we don’t know who’s on the other side of the TV screen. This bill is certainly aimed at protecting children, let alone survivors of sexual assault.”

After Halloran’s apology, the youngest member of the chamber, Republican Sen. Julie Slama, spoke. He said what Halloran said Monday was “totally inappropriate” and urged the legislature to take stronger measures to prevent similar incidents.

“I don’t care if it’s John Cavanaugh or Machaela Cavanaugh,” he said. “It doesn’t matter the gender of the person you’re trying to sexually harass.”

Sen. Wendy DeBoer, a Democrat, said in a speech Tuesday that she hoped Halloran would apologize and that members would not dismiss his words.

“If you haven’t experienced harassment, sexual abuse, you may not understand the ways in which these memories can be triggered,” she said. “And when you’re describing the reading from the transcript and then you’re putting the senator’s name in there, that’s already a problem. But in addition, I think it should be maybe some kind of, maybe a moment or a moment of something. , but there’s aggression and there’s danger. it is right here.”

The bill’s sponsor, Republican Sen. Joni Albrecht, apologized to her colleagues on Monday. “I am very sorry that your name has been put on this place,” he said. “I mean, I’m going to be the first to stand up and say I’m sorry. That’s the way it is in our schools. That’s what’s going on. I don’t want to see it escalate to any level.”

Independent Sen. Megan Hunt adjourned the meeting early Monday morning because of Halloran’s comments.

“Frankly, I think Halloran should resign. How dare he open his mouth and say, ‘Give me Senator Cavanaugh’s job’?” he wrote on page X. “He said it because he meant it. It was beyond the pale. It’s pure aggression to read a rape scene out loud and put it like that. It’s brain-wrenching.”

“The problem is not that graphic language is in books,” he added in another post. “The problem isn’t what rape survivors write about their experiences. The problem is standing on the platform as a state senator and holding your mouth shut to tell one of your colleagues to give you a shot.”

So does GOP Nebraska state Sen. Julie Slama He wrote in X Halloran should resign.

“No. Hell no,” he wrote in a post on Monday. “I’m out of words, but you can all be sure I’ll find them before the morning session.”

In Sebold’s 1999 memoir, she says she survived being molested in college. His accuser, Anthony J. Broadwater, was wrongfully convicted and imprisoned for 16 years. He was acquitted in 2021and Sebold said “genuinely regretted” the role he played in his conviction.

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By 37ci3

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