November 25, 2015

No charges will be filed in rape allegation at house shared by Husker players

No charges will be filed in connection with an allegation that a woman was raped at a Lincoln home shared by three University of Nebraska football players.

Lincoln Police Chief Jim Peschong said an investigation began after a 20-year-old woman alleged during a visit to Bryan Medical Center in Lincoln that she had been raped during the early morning hours of November 15th.

“We have completed our investigation into this matter and no arrests will be made in regards to this,” Peschong told reporters during a news conference at the Lincoln Police Department.

Authorities acknowledged something happened at the home shared by Husker quarterback Tommy Armstrong, receiver Jordan Westerkamp, and tight end Trey Foster. But they add there isn’t enough evidence to file charges.

“We will not be filing charges with regard to this investigation,” Lancaster County Prosecutor Joe Kelly. “Filing it would require proof beyond a reasonable doubt that a crime had occurred. That simply is not there.”

Authorities say six people were at the residence that evening. All were interviewed. No names are being released.

“The decision is simply an evaluation that we make when we compare the facts as we know them with the elements that we would have to prove in front of a jury beyond a reasonable doubt,” according to Kelly. “That simply is not there and, ethically, I cannot move forward.”

The University of Nebraska Athletics Department issued the following statement:


“We are aware of this morning’s announcement by the Lincoln Police Department and the Lancaster County Attorney. There is no change in the status of any student-athletes. We will continue to follow University policies.”


Jane Monnich, KLIN, contributed to this report.

AUDIO:  Lincoln Police Dept. news conference on rape allegation. [15 minutes]

House “pushes the pause button” on Syrian refugee program (AUDIO)

Congressman Jeff Fortenberry

Congressman Jeff Fortenberry

A Nebraska Congressman says Congress has an obligation to make sure the country is safe before it lets in Syrian refugees.

The United States House has approved a measure demanding stronger vetting before Syrian refugees enter the country.

“It pushes the pause button on resettling Syrian refugees in the country,” Congressman Jeff Fortenberry tells Kevin Thomas, host of Drive Time Lincoln on Nebraska Radio Network affiliate KLIN.

Fortenberry says if the government cannot guarantee a terrorist won’t be among the refugees, none should be allowed in. It appears at least one of the terrorists in the Paris bombings entered Europe among Syrian refugees.

President Barack Obama has been harshly critical of Republicans pushing the measure, claiming they are scared of women and children.

Fortenberry calls Obama’s harsh criticism of the measure “unpresidential”.

“The president’s first job as well is to protect us. He tends to show more anger at conservatives than he does at jihadist terrorists,” according to Fortenberry. “This is a serious moment. People have been killed in an indiscriminate way in France.”

The measure passed easily, 289-to-137.

Fellow Republican, Adrian Smith, joined Fortenberry in voting for the bill.

Congressman Brad Ashford was among the 47 Democrats who joined 242 Republicans in supporting the measure which is opposed by President Barack Obama, a Democrat. Two Republicans voted against the bill.

The legislation comes in response to the terrorist attacks in Paris that killed nearly 130 and wounded hundreds more. The investigation into the attacks has led officials to believe at least one of the terrorists entered Europe through Greece with a group of Syrian refugees.

The legislation would require the head of Homeland security and the FBI as well as the national intelligence director to certify to Congress that each Syrian or Iraqi refugee entering the country poses no security threat.

The Obama Administration says the bill would create significant delays without enhancing meaningful additional security and the president has threatened to veto it should it make it to his desk. Democrats in the U.S. Senate have threatened to filibuster the measure.

AUDIO:  Brent Martin reports [:45]

National Guard restructuring should provide more opportunity (AUDIO)

Adjutant Gen. Daryl Bohac speaks at a news conference with Gov. Pete Ricketts

Adjutant Gen. Daryl Bohac speaks at a news conference with Gov. Pete Ricketts

The first major restructuring of the Nebraska Army National Guard in 20 years will give Guard members more opportunity, especially in western Nebraska.

Adjutant General Daryl Bohac says the Nebraska Guard decided to reorganize after the Army moved away from Battlefield Surveillance.

“I think one of the most exciting things about this is the opportunity for our soldiers,” Bohac tells reporters during a news conference.

The 67th Battlefield Surveillance Brigade of Lincoln will become the 67th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade.

Western Nebraska, once only transportation units, will diversify, providing more opportunity for Guard members, according to Bohac.

“I would put it to you this way, there are only so many people that are interested in being truck drivers and so by having greater opportunity, greater range of opportunity in western Nebraska, that’s good for us,” Bohac says. “But, we’re doing that across the state.”

Roughly 1,100 Nebraska Army National Guard soldiers from units in 16 Nebraska communities will be affected: Lincoln, Omaha, Beatrice, Columbus, York, Hastings, Kearney, Grand Island, Mead, O’Neill, Broken Bow, North Platte, McCook, Sidney, Scottsbluff, and Chadron.

The Nebraska Army National Guard outlines the changes:

· The transition of the Lincoln-based 67th Battlefield Surveillance Brigade into the 67th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade;

· The addition of a new engineer battalion headquarters in Columbus;

· The replacement of the Kearney-based transportation battalion headquarters with a brigade support battalion headquarters;

· The transition of Kearney’s transportation company into distribution support and field maintenance companies;

· The transition of the transportation company in Chadron and Scottsbluff into a military police company. Scottsbluff will also see the addition of a new field maintenance company detachment;

· The transition of O’Neill’s chemical company detachment into a field maintenance company detachment;

· The addition of a new military police company detachment in Grand Island;

· The transition of York’s transportation company detachment into an engineer company detachment;

· The addition of a new Division Main Command Post Operational Detachment and a Military History Detachment in Lincoln;

· The deactivation of the Mead-based Detachment 2, 165th Quartermaster Company with the remaining Rigger Soldiers reorganized into the 515th Rigger Support Team at the Mead Training Site;

· Some slight changes to the Lincoln, Hastings, Mead, and Beatrice-based 1-134th Cavalry Squadron with the addition of a new Cavalry Support Company in Lincoln;

· The transition of an engineering detachment and a brigade support company detachment in Hastings into a new Engineering Forward Support Company.

Bohac says the changes will enhance the Guard’s readiness for state and national emergencies.

The changes will begin in early January and should take three years to complete. The Nebraska National Guard has 3,600 members, about 200 fewer than authorized by the Army.

AUDIO:  Brent Martin reports [:45]

Gov. Ricketts defends his request to block Syrian refugees

Gov. Pete Ricketts

Gov. Pete Ricketts

Gov. Pete Ricketts has defended his decision to request agencies not accept Syrian refugees until Nebraska can participate in their vetting process.

Ricketts said during a news conference safety and security must be considered first in any refugee resettlement efforts.

“I think the events in Paris demonstrate that we’ve got to be concerned about what’s going on in the Middle East and ISIS and to make sure we’re taking the steps necessary here at home to protect our citizens,” Ricketts told reporters.

President Barack Obama has promised the US will take 10,000 Syrian refugees, fleeing their country’s civil war.

Ricketts said none should be admitted until security concerns are satisfied.

“Again, what I’m asking our agencies to do is to decline to participate until we’ve had a chance to really go through the security vetting process. I think the events in Paris really highlight that we have to make sure that our citizens here at home are secure,” Ricketts said. “We certainly don’t want to be reactive and have an incident first. We want to take proactive steps; do the best job we can to protect our citizens.”


Sen. Fischer: suspend Syrian refugee program until reviewed (AUDIO)

Sen. Deb Fischer

Sen. Deb Fischer

United States Sen. Deb Fischer says the Islamic State will carry out more terrorist attacks until it is eradicated.

Fischer says her reaction to the terrorist attacks that killed around 130 people in Paris is typical of the reaction throughout the country.

“Well, of course, everyone is horrified by the terrorist attacks, but I don’t think anyone is really surprised by them,” Fischer tells Kevin Thomas, host of Drive Time Lincoln on Nebraska Radio Network affiliate KLIN.

The investigation into the terrorist attacks which rocked Paris continues. It appears, though, that at least one of the terrorists slipped into the country among the Syrian refugees fleeing the violent chaos which has engulfed their homeland. France has sealed its borders and is imposing tight restrictions on movement in and out of the country.

Fischer calls for suspension of American plans to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. It is estimated that nearly 2,000 refugees from Syria’s civil war have entered the United States the past four years.

Fischer says the program to accept Syrian refugees should be suspended until its procedures undergo thorough review.

“At this point, we should not be accepting anymore Syrian refugees into this country,” according to Fischer.

Fischer, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, says several hearings will be this week to discuss the Paris attacks and the threats posed by the Islamic State, also known as ISIS and ISIL.

As for America, Fischer says we must not let fear rule us.

“So, I always encourage people to go about their daily life; enjoy their family, enjoy their communities, enjoy their freedoms, and don’t let these guys stop that.”

AUDIO:  Brent Martin reports [:50]