Gov. Pete Ricketts has urged state Sen. Bill Kintner of Papillion to resign if allegations are proven true that Kintner exchanged sexually explicit video of himself using his state computer.
A source familiar with the situation said Kintner told investigators about the video when he asked the Nebraska State Patrol for help with computer problems in July 2015.
The patrol confirmed Friday that Kintner had sought help for "what he believed to be a potential internet scam that occurred while the senator was in Massachusetts using his state computer."
Kintner, who was attending an American Legislative Exchange Council meeting in Indianapolis, didn't return calls to his cellphone Friday afternoon.
He told The Associated Press he wouldn't comment "until there is some finding, if any," by the Nebraska Accountability and Disclosure Commission, which handles ethics complaints against public officials.
The patrol says it turned over its investigation to the commission in November after consulting with the state attorney general's office. Accountability and Disclosure Commission Director Frank Daley declined to comment Friday, but the commission is expected to weigh in during a meeting Aug. 5.
Ricketts spokesman Taylor Gage said the governor learned of the investigation "shortly after" Kintner contacted the State Patrol.
In a statement issued Friday, Ricketts said he had phoned Kintner last summer and urged him to resign "if the allegations were true."
"Due to the ongoing investigation of this issue, I have been unable to say anything publicly," Ricketts said Friday. "If the allegations are true, Senator Kintner needs to resign.”
Nebraska law forbids public officials from using their state computers for nonessential personal activity.
Democrats quickly chided the Republican governor for his handling of the situation.
"It is not enough for Sen. Kintner to resign in shame. Anyone that knew this information and continued to let him sit in office must also resign," said Jane Kleeb, chairwoman-elect of the Nebraska Democratic Party, in a text message. "Did Gov. Ricketts or his staff look the other way so they had (Kintner's) vote in the Unicameral?"
Investigators haven't described the video or said whether a permanent copy or other evidence was ever obtained.
But another senator said he contacted the State Patrol last fall after a woman offered to sell what she called a sexually explicit video of Kintner.
And Omaha Sen. Bob Krist said he informed Ricketts' chief of staff, Matt Miltenberger, around the same time that a sexually explicit video involving Kintner had been brought to senators' attention.
Kintner, 55, has been married for about seven years to Lauren Kintner, the governor's chief policy adviser.
Considered one of the Legislature's most conservative senators, Bill Kintner once told the Journal Star that his parents "taught me the moral absolutes of Christianity, and I just applied those to everything."
Asked during the same interview what he considers the biggest mystery, Kintner replied: "Women. No one understands them. They don't even understand themselves. Books and books and books have been written about it, and no one understands it."
The senator has drawn criticism from colleagues and observers outside the Legislature for his controversial statements and perceived lack of decorum since he took office. Speaker Galen Hadley chastised him in February for likening fellow senators to monkeys in his regular column published by the Plattsmouth Journal.
His Twitter page, where he frequently posted candid remarks about colleagues and issues of the day, had apparently been shut down after Friday's news broke.
Kintner represents an area south of Omaha that includes all of Cass County and parts of Sarpy and Otoe counties, including portions of Papillion and Nebraska City.
Because of a quirk in election law, he stands to be among the longest-serving state senators since voters enacted term limits in 2000.
He claimed his seat after defeating incumbent Sen. Paul Lambert in 2012. Lambert had been appointed by then-Gov. Dave Heineman after Sen. Dave Pankonin resigned to return to business.
Kintner was re-elected in 2014, and because his first term lasted just two years — essentially finishing Pankonin's term — he would be eligible for re-election to another four-year term in 2018.