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Football
'We gotta tell the truth': Ex-Huskers texted each other about sexual encounter with woman

Two former Husker players now charged with first-degree sexual assault texted each other about telling the truth about their sexual encounter with a woman, according to a court document.

Katerian LeGrone, 19, and Andre Hunt, 20, are accused of sexually assaulting a 19-year-old woman at their Lincoln apartment Aug. 25. On Thursday, a judge set their preliminary hearings for Feb. 26. Bail was set at $50,000 for LeGrone. Hunt was released on a personal recognizance bond.

In a search of their cellphones, Lincoln police found texts between the roommates about coming clean.

“We gotta tell the truth bruh they gonna find out it you had sex wit her,” Hunt texted LeGrone, according to an affidavit.

“No bruh,” LeGrone responded. “They not gone find out don’t panic bruh just chill.”

LeGrone convinced Hunt to stay with their original story, authorities said.

Both LeGrone and Hunt told police that the interaction with the woman was consensual.

Former Husker football players charged with sexual assault

Two former Husker football players have been charged with first-degree sexual assault. Andre Hunt and Katerian LeGrone are scheduled to be arraigned at 10 a.m. Thursday in Lancaster County, according to the Nebraska.gov court case calendar.

Investigators also found Internet searches LeGrone’s phone seeking information about “lying on statement of sexual assault” and “how is saliva detected during sexual assault.”

The woman went to a hospital within two hours of the alleged rape to file a report.

She told police that she went to Hunt and LeGrone’s apartment after talking to Hunt on social media. Hunt “immediately” walked her to the bedroom, and they talked for 15 minutes before Hunt began to make sexual advances toward her, according to the affidavit.

Hunt asked for oral sex and physically guided her head to his penis with his hands, and the woman “felt pressured” to do it, according to the affidavit. Then Hunt removed the woman’s pants and put her chest on the bed and stood behind her and began to have sex with her.

As that proceeded, the woman “locked eyes” with someone standing in Hunt’s bedroom doorway, the affidavit said. Hunt gathered blankets to block her vision and held her head down.

She heard someone walk in and was able to turn her head to see a man later identified as LeGrone standing near Hunt. She said they put blankets on her head and held her head down. Then LeGrone began having sex with her, she told authorities.

She then felt LeGrone stop and Hunt start again while LeGrone stayed in the bedroom. She later noticed that LeGrone then left the bedroom while Hunt continued to have sex with her.

The affidavit said that “although she felt pressured and uncomfortable performing fellatio and having penile-vaginal sexual intercourse with Hunt, at no point did she consent to having any form of sexual relations with a second unknown person she later identified as being Katerian LeGrone. (The woman) said she did not verbally or physically resist Hunt and LeGrone out of fear of what they could do to her if she said something or if she began to cry.”

Lincoln police spoke to Hunt and LeGrone at 2 a.m. the next day. Both said that only Hunt had sex with the woman, and both consented to give DNA samples.

Later that day, LeGrone contacted police because he wanted to say more.

In separate interviews, Hunt and LeGrone both contradicted their initial statements, saying LeGrone overheard Hunt and the woman having sex and asked to join and the woman said yes. They said everything was consensual.

Lincoln attorney Carlos Monzon, who represents Hunt, has said that the woman had exchanged social media messages with his client discussing sex and that later, after having sex, “screamed rape.”

The woman filed a Title IX complaint with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Title IX investigators found in December that “a greater weight of the evidence” supported that the two men “engaged in sexual assault and sexual harassment, in violation of university sexual misconduct policies,” according to a report obtained by ESPN.

During the Title IX investigation, Hunt said LeGrone “never asked to join” and “did not ask (the woman) to have sex,” according to the affidavit. Hunt also said LeGrone told him what to say in the two statements to police.

DNA testing revealed that Hunt and LeGrone could not be excluded from a mixture of two male DNA profiles found on the woman’s underwear.

Since the Title IX investigation became public, more women have filed reports with the Lincoln Police Department accusing Hunt and LeGrone of additional crimes. The World-Herald obtained reports from Lincoln police that linked the pair to six more allegations.

In the affidavit filed Wednesday, Lincoln police confirmed that they are actively investigating other allegations of sexual assault.

The men were arrested Dec. 10 in connection with the sexual assault and appeared in court Dec. 11.

Both men were suspended indefinitely days before the start of the 2019 football season and never played for the Huskers last season. No reason was given at the time of the suspensions, but Nebraska coach Scott Frost defended the program’s handling of the situation.

“The minute we were made aware of any accusation, we funneled it to the person we are supposed to funnel Title IX issues to immediately, suspended them indefinitely from the team and removed them from all football activities,” Frost said Dec. 18. “And then we let Title IX and the authorities do their job.”

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Notable crime news of 2019

State_and_regional
Male, female or non? Bill would add to gender options on Nebraska driver's licenses, state IDs

LINCOLN — Nebraskans would have a third gender option on their driver’s licenses and state identification cards under a bill introduced Thursday in the Legislature.

Legislative Bill 873 would allow residents to choose “non,” as in nonbinary, instead of male or female when applying for a license or ID card.

State Sen. Megan Hunt of Omaha, Nebraska’s first openly bisexual lawmaker, said she introduced the measure after hearing from a number of people who want to have their identification accurately reflect their gender. She wouldn’t predict how the bill would fare in the Legislature.

Megan Hunt

“I think Nebraska’s ready,” she said. “What I’m not sure about is if the Legislature is ready.”

The measure would add Nebraska to a growing list of states offering a gender-neutral option for official identification documents. Sixteen states and the District of Columbia now allow people to choose non or X as their gender, according to the National Center for Transgender Equality.

Nebraska currently offers the traditional pair of genders on driver’s licenses and state IDs. Hunt said no state law prohibits the Department of Motor Vehicles from adding to those choices administratively. But she said she was not aware of any plan to add a neutral option.

Adam Eakin, a project and information manager at the DMV, said agency officials have not yet had time to assess the bill.

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Nonbinary people are those who don’t fit easily into the categories of male or female. Recognition of nonbinary, sometimes called genderqueer, people has increased along with awareness about transgender people.

Currently, Nebraska allows transgender residents to change their gender designation on a driver’s license or state ID card after they have undergone surgery. They must submit a certificate of sex reassignment, signed by a doctor, chiropractor, physician’s assistant or advanced practice nurse.

Under LB 873, Nebraskans would not have to provide documentation of their gender when applying for a driver’s license or state ID card.

The bill would also make it easier to change the gender on a person’s birth certificate. Current law allows for such a change after people have undergone surgery altering their genitals and other sexual characteristics. People must present an affidavit from the surgeon and a court order.

Hunt’s bill and a similar one offered by Sen. Carol Blood of Bellevue (LB 754) would allow a change in the birth certificate with an affidavit from a doctor saying that the change is warranted or with a court order.

A 2016 survey by the transgender equality center found that about a third of respondents had experienced verbal harassment, been denied service or worse when showing an ID with a gender that did not match how they appeared. But state laws and policies often make it difficult to update identification documents, which are essential for getting health care, boarding an airplane, starting a new job and more.


Meet the Nebraska state senators

Meet the Nebraska state senators

State_and_regional
Nebraska's all-Republican delegation denounces House resolution limiting Trump's war powers

WASHINGTON — The House on Thursday passed a resolution that supporters cast as a bid to prevent President Donald Trump from escalating the conflict with Iran without congressional approval.

But those on the other side denounced the nonbinding, largely symbolic measure as undermining the commander in chief and encouraging the nation’s enemies.

“This resolution weakens America and gives hope to the ayatollah that we don’t have the resolve to stand up to these attacks,” Rep. Don Bacon said on the House floor. “A house divided will not stand.”

The Omaha-area congressman and the rest of Nebraska’s all-Republican delegation voted against the resolution, which passed 224-194.

Eight Democrats crossed the aisle to oppose it, while three Republicans and one independent voted in favor.

Bacon, a retired Air Force brigadier general, has been particularly outspoken in defending Trump’s decision to kill Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the commander of Iran’s elite Quds Force.

Bacon has described the issue as a personal one given his multiple deployments to the Middle East. In particular, he cited his time in Iraq more than 10 years ago.

“We were targeted by rockets every single day from Iranian proxies trained in, funded by and armed by Iran and sometimes led by Iranian commanders. And fellow Americans died,” Bacon said. “This guy killed 609 Americans in Iraq alone. He was the mastermind. Does it take a hundred more? Two hundred more or three hundred more?”

Democrats insisted that they shed no tears for Soleimani and were glad to see him gone, but they said they want to prevent an impulsive president from marching the country into yet another war.

They pointed to Trump’s tweets touting America’s brand-new military equipment and his threats to strike Iran’s cultural sites — strikes that could be considered war crimes.

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Rep. Cindy Axne, D-Iowa, voted for the resolution but stressed afterward in a statement that the world is a safer place without Soleimani.

“I also believe that the consequences of an open war with Iran are too great to rest solely with a single branch of government,” Axne said. “A decision to go to war will always impact Americans, and Congress must use its voice.”

Several Democrats vying for their party’s nomination to face Bacon in November’s election have spoken out about the Iran situation.

On Twitter, Gladys Harrison criticized the president for threatening war crimes, while Morgann Freeman called the strike on Soleimani a “gross abuse of power that endangers America.”

Kara Eastman, who is seeking a rematch with Bacon, said in a statement that she agrees with two Republican senators, Mike Lee of Utah and Rand Paul of Kentucky, who criticized the administration’s briefings this week as inadequate and said elected officials must be able to fully debate military intervention.

“This is especially the case when the lives of American servicemen and women and their families are at stake,” she said. “It is absolutely Congress’ prerogative and imperative to demand transparency and accountability, and the Trump administration and Rep. Don Bacon are wrong to suggest otherwise.”

Another contender to face Bacon, Ann Ashford, said that Congress has ceded too much authority to the executive branch and that the resolution is about making sure that “any president brings Congress into the loop before taking such serious acts.”

As for Trump’s talk about striking Iran’s cultural sites, Bacon said some of those sites would fall into a gray area because they have dual use.

Blowing up strictly cultural sites would be a war crime, Bacon said. But the retired general added that if such an order were given, he would expect military leaders to advise the president that it was not legal.

“I was taught on day one at officer training school you never follow an illegal order, anyway,” he said.

Bacon said Thursday’s resolution was unnecessary because the president doesn’t want war and is seeking to de-escalate the situation while making clear that Iran can’t get away with killing Americans.

“There has been lots of restraint shown, and I don’t think that works for Iran,” he said. “They need to know there’s brass knuckles on the other end once in a while.”

Meanwhile, most Senate Republicans have been issuing statements supporting Trump.

Sen. Deb Fischer said after this week’s briefings that she believes that the president acted appropriately and responsibly to protect American lives.

“We do not want to go to war with Iran, but the president has been and remains committed to doing what is necessary to keep American citizens safe,” she said.

Democrat Chris Janicek, who is seeking his party’s nomination to challenge GOP Sen. Ben Sasse, suggested that Sasse is failing to check Trump and reassert congressional authority over waging war.

Sasse, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said in a statement after this week’s briefings that it was good news that Soleimani is dead.

“Here’s where things stand: The architect of Iran’s proxy war strategy is dead and the United States has the strong upper hand to deter further Iranian aggression.”


Nebraska and Iowa’s members of Congress

Photos: Nebraska's and Iowa's members of Congress

Entertainment
'Not-At-All What You Thought'? These 8 Nebraska places fit the new tourism slogan

If you’re going to visit Nebraska, and apparently few people are, maybe you would be interested to know it’s “Not-At-All What You Thought.”

That’s the hope of the Nebraska Tourism Commission, which subtitled its 2020 “Visit Nebraska” state travel guide with the slogan.

Laugh all you want. We get it. Every time Nebraska comes up nationally, it’s draped in Cornhusker red, there’s a reference to Omaha Steaks or it’s filled with cattle and cornfields. (Or in the case of an entire television show, it takes place on a farm and all the side characters are eccentric townies.)

Even those of us who live here fall into the trap of thinking the state is boring when it’s far from it. There’s goofy stuff, fascinating places, wondrous views and great entertainment all over the state.

These are just a few of our favorites.

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The one and only Carhenge

Topping the list of things you wouldn’t think to find in Nebraska — or, let’s be honest, anywhere at all — is Carhenge, the curious Stonehenge replica made entirely out of old cars. Find it near Alliance.

Some amazing prehistoric fossils

Prehistoric Nebraska was fascinating and full of some animal species you wouldn’t expect. We know that because of the Ashfall Fossil Beds, where fossilized skeletons of rhinos, camels, turtles and lots more were preserved when a volcano erupted 12 million years ago and covered the area in ash. It’s in northeast Nebraska near Royal in Antelope County.

A serious stuffed animal collection

And we don’t mean plush, cuddly teddy bears. These bears, in their days of being alive, were fierce creatures, and they stand alongside numerous other taxidermied animals inside a steakhouse in Paxton. While you eat at Ole’s Big Game Steakhouse — if you can manage to eat your meat while being stared down by animals — you will be surrounded by your standard big game animals of the region, as well as elephants and a giraffe.

White sandy beaches

You would think that the nearest of such beaches would be far south near the Gulf of Mexico, but you can actually just go to Burwell. The Calamus Reservoir State Recreation Area has white sandy beaches.

Photos: Nebraska State Parks

One of the world’s best golf courses

Once again, the Sand Hills Golf Club was ranked among the top 15. In the world. No joke. Head to Mullen, and you will find a country club with a killer course set among the Sand Hills. It’s gorgeous, and it plays great. But it’s also private, so you will just have to take our word for it.

A big ball of stamps

We’re not sure what it compared with when receiving its title of the world’s largest ball of stamps, but a big old ball of stamps is at Boys Town. The thing is about three times the size of a basketball, but don’t try to pick it up. It weighs about 600 pounds.

Feed raccoons your dinner scraps

First, eat your fried chicken. Then share any leftovers with some furry woodland creatures, namely raccoons, who camp out on the patio waiting for scraps. It’s an interesting and perhaps off-putting combination, to be sure, but it’s part of the thing at the Alpine Inn, where a giant viewing window lets you watch the action. Find it in the Ponca Hills north of Florence.

Visit the caves where Jesse James (MAYBE) hung out

The 5,600-square-foot Robber’s Cave is full of man-made tunnels dug into sandstone in Lincoln. It’s long been an attraction , and the walls are covered in etchings made by visitors going back more than a century. Legend holds that famous outlaw Jesse James used the tunnels as a hideout.

'Honestly, it's not for everyone': A look back at how Nebraska chose its tourism slogan