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LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — An outspoken Nebraska state legislator who was fined for having cybersex using a state computer resigned Wednesday after causing further outrage by sending a tweet that implied participants at a women’s march were too unattractive to be victims of sexual assault.
Republican Sen. Bill Kintner announced at a news conference in the state Capitol that he would step down from the seat he has held since 2012. He made the announcement less than an hour before Nebraska lawmakers were scheduled to debate whether to expel him — the first time the state Legislature would have taken such an action in recent history.
Kintner, of Papillion, retweeted a comment Sunday by conservative radio personality Larry Elder that mocked three women pictured with signs protesting Donald Trump’s comments about touching women inappropriately. Above the photo, Elder wrote: “Ladies, I think you’re safe.”
Kintner’s office later released a statement saying: “By retweeting a message, I was not implying support for putting women in fear of their personal safety. I took down the retweet as soon as I became aware that it was being misconstrued.”
But even before Kintner’s Twitter blunder, he was already under scrutiny for his behavior.
The blunt-spoken lawmaker paid a $1,000 fine last year for misuse of state property, after he admitted to engaging in mutual masturbation in July 2015 with a woman using Skype, an online video-chatting service. Kintner reported the transgression to the Nebraska State Patrol after the woman threatened to expose the encounter unless he paid her $4,500.
That scandal drew calls for him to resign from top state officials, including Republican Gov. Pete Ricketts, but Kintner refused to bow to the pressure. He even faced threats of impeachment from fellow senators.
Lawmakers said they’ve been bombarded with calls, emails and letters this week from constituents outraged by Kintner’s most recent indiscretion.
Sen. Ernie Chambers of Omaha, Kintner’s longtime adversary, has called his behavior “disgusting” and embarrassing for his wife, who works for the governor. He said Kintner must resign.
Kintner’s history of offensive statements has made even some of his conservative allies cringe.
In 2015, the Nebraska Latino American Commission condemned Kintner for repeatedly using an ethnic slur during a debate over allowing driver’s licenses for certain youths brought to the country illegally.
Some were bemused and others offended by his 2013 comment to a newspaper, which asked him what he considered the biggest mystery. Kintner responded, “Women. No one understands them. They don’t even understand themselves.”
Kintner, 56, was elected in 2012 to represent a largely rural and suburban district south of Omaha. He was up for re-election in 2018.
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