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Nebraska Attorney General: No criminal charges for former lawmaker Mike Groene

In February he was accused of taking unauthorized pictures of his legislative aide
Posted at 6:13 PM, Jul 21, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-21 19:13:25-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — After reviewing an investigation from the Nebraska State Patrol, the Nebraska Attorney General's office said Thursday, that former State Senator Mike Groene will not be prosecuted for taking pictures without his staff member’s knowledge.

The AG said in a statement “there is insufficient information to warrant a criminal prosecution.”

In February, it was discovered that Groene, a two-term lawmaker from North Platte, took pictures of a female staff member and then emailed them to himself.

These pictures were discovered by the woman, Kristina Konecko, while doing maintenance on her boss’s laptop.

While a legislative investigator described the behavior as “boorish, brainless and bizarre, especially for the workplace,” the actions weren’t deemed criminal in her report this spring.

That aligns with the investigation completed by the state.

Still, Groene is no longer a state lawmaker, the only solace State Senator Machaela Cavanaugh is taking.

“That is the only reason there is consequence that, in the moment, there was enough public pressure that he resigned,” said Cavanaugh.

She is upset with the AG’s conclusion saying the victim was violated and needs recourse. Cavanaugh says she’ll be looking at changing workplace harassment laws if re-elected in the fall.

“We still have a victim who’s been violated and when you have a victim who’s been violated and say to them that there’s no crime, that, to me means there needs to be a resolution on what the law is and the actions,” said Cavanaugh.

Others like Jannette Taylor, President and CEO of the Women’s Center for Advancement says not charging Groene minimizes his actions and dismisses the victim. She is also hoping laws in Nebraska change after this.

“If you’re a subordinate and somebody takes a picture of you or they touch you in an inappropriate way, you are thinking twice before you say something, you don’t want to lose your job or risk your livelihood. So there does need to be more protections for people,” said Taylor.

3 News Now called Konecko for comment on Thursday. She was unaware of the Attorney General's opinion and didn’t want to comment until she knew more.

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