Sen. Bill Kintner of Papillion broke his silence Friday.
He said he won't resign from the Legislature, and he will apologize only to his wife and his God for engaging in cybersex last summer with a woman.
"I am sorry that I sinned against God," he said. "I am sorry that I sinned against my wife."
In an interview, he did not apologize to his constituents or fellow senators. In fact, he questioned why senators would be talking about impeaching or expelling him, when a number of them have shown a lack of "standards" themselves.
Kintner was fined $1,000 Friday by the Nebraska Accountability and Disclosure Commission for using his state laptop computer during the exchange on an online video call.
After an investigation by the Nebraska State Patrol, no criminal charges were filed.
Kintner said the incident began with a casual conversation on Facebook nearly a week before he connected with the woman over Skype. He said they talked via Facebook about their families and their jobs first.
"Then she finally said, 'Let's go on Skype,'" he said.
At that time, he said he was on a trip to Boston not related to the Legislature.
After the cybersex took place, he said, someone quickly contacted him and asked him to send $4,500 or his life and marriage would be destroyed. He put the person off, saying he would take care of it when he got home.
He disconnected Skype, and the person contacted him one more time via Facebook, asking for $2,000, he said. He said no and didn't hear from the person again.
Because of the patrol investigation, Kintner said, he believes this wasn't a woman just sitting in her living room. It was probably a small crime syndicate out of the Ivory Coast using Russian computer servers.
He used his legislative laptop during the exchange. He said he has several computers and keeps one or two with him at any given time so he can check emails, and try to stay in touch.
"To be honest with you, I don't always pay attention to which computer I'm on," he said.
What happened was a "real wake-up call," Kintner said.
A week and a half after he disclosed the cybersex to his wife last summer, she was diagnosed with cancer, he said. Lauren Kintner is the governor's chief policy adviser.
"My wife has shown absolutely incredible grace and forgiveness, more so than any man deserves," he said during an interview in his office with reporters after announcement of the fine. "I am just fortunate that we have a good, strong marriage and my faith is stronger than ever."
If constituents in District 2 want an apology, they can contact him and talk to him about it, Kintner said. And he doesn't feel he owes an apology to the Legislature.
He asked what standard he violated to embarrass the institution of the Legislature that would require him to apologize to senators.
Other senators, he said, have acted in ways that apparently did not violate legislative standards: drinking and driving, adultery and affairs, fornication between senators and staff, habitual drunkenness and inflammatory rhetoric that could incite violence against police officers.
"So what standard are all 49 senators held to that I violated?" he asked. "I would love to know."
As for his constituents, Kintner said, the cybersex incident didn't invalidate any political positions he's taken in the Legislature.
"I'm still one of the leading advocates for limited government, for lower taxes, for public safety in our state."
One sin doesn't take away everything he's done in the past three years, he said.
"My reputation's still there. I'm still a fighter for the taxpayers," he said.
His 2016 legislative session, which took place months after the cybersex incident, was a good one by anyone's standards, he said.
"I dealt with it. I moved on. I continued to serve the taxpayers, as I will continue now," he said.
He said he belongs in the Legislature, despite calls for his resignation from Gov. Pete Ricketts, Speaker Galen Hadley and Executive Board Chairman Bob Krist.
He believes staying is not a political decision but part of God's plan for him, to be an effective advocate in the Legislature and to be a loving husband.
Kintner said people who live long enough in "this fallen world" eventually find themselves in a situation in which they've said or done something that falls short of their own standards.
"Unfortunately, that is where I found myself over a year ago," he said.
Kintner said he prayed for a week over the matter, as did his staff, his wife, and a number of pastors.
"After doing that for a week, I am comfortable where I am right now," he said.
Omaha Sen. Ernie Chambers has promised to propose impeachment or expulsion if Kintner does not resign, and to bring a full discussion of Kintner's indiscretions into legislative debate in January.
"Senator Chambers does not occupy the moral high ground in this Legislature," Kintner said. "Not on this issue or any other moral issue."
He said Chambers has made comments that Kintner believed appeared to threaten police officers.
"You need 25 votes. We all need each other down here," Kintner said. "We all have to work together for the common good of the state."
He said he has been in contact with a number of senators, and they have been supportive.
Kintner said he felt his due process was violated when stories were written last week about the incident. He said the stories were full of misrepresentations and misstatements.
"There has never been any video with adult content on any computer that I own or that I operate," he said.
Skype is an online video chat program, but, generally, no permanent video is recorded.
When asked how he was doing, Kintner said he's never been happier.
"I go home to a loving wife, a great marriage. My walk with Christ is stronger than it's ever been," he said.
What happened to him was something all men need to understand, he said, "that sexual sin is the way Satan gets to us."
He offered some advice to men that he said he is now following himself.
* Don't do anything you wouldn't do with your wife sitting next to you.
* Have an accountability partner, someone in your life you trust to talk to about marriage issues.
* Don't put yourself in a position to fail. If you find yourself on an adult website, or alone with a single woman at night, get out of there.
* Give your wife your computer passwords and let her see everything you're doing.
Be the first to know
Get local news delivered to your inbox!