Republican Steve Halloran Inserts Colleague’s Name Into Rape Story

Steve Halloran nev state senate

Nebraska lawmakers are calling for the resignation of State Senator Steve Halloran (R) after he repeatedly inserted the name of two fellow senators into an extremely graphic rape scene he read to the chamber. 

On Monday, while debating a bill that would revoke prosecution exemptions granted to “educational institutions providing obscenity to minors in grades K-12,” Halloran directed his comments at Sens. Machaela (D) and John Cavanaugh (D), siblings who serve alongside Halloran in the state Senate and opposed the proposed legislation. 

Halloran began reading an excerpt from “Lucky,” a memoir by the author Alice Sebold exploring the impact being sexually assaulted at age 18 had on her life. Halloran read Sebold’s description of the attack, misrepresenting it as a piece of titillating literature and inserting “Sen. Cavanaugh” at various points — without clarifying which of the two lawmakers he was referring to. 

The scene is incredibly violent. Sebold describes the physical injuries inflicted on her during the assault and relays her recollections of what her attacker said and did to her during the rape. 

“I want a blow job, Senator Cavanaugh,” Halloran said at one point.

“Tonight one of my colleagues read a rape scene from a book inserting my name repeatedly. It was gross, disrespectful, and beneath the Nebraska Unicameral,” Machaela Cavanaugh wrote Monday on X, formerly Twitter. 

On the floor, Cavanaugh — fighting back tears — called the incident “unbecoming of [Halloran] and unbecoming of this body.” 

“That was harassing. That was about a book about sexual violence. I have done nothing but try to have a respectful debate with Sen. Albrecht about her bill that impacts my children,” she added. 

The session was adjourned early shortly after, with Speaker of the Legislature Sen. John Arch (R) calling it one of those “times we just have to step back from debate.” 

By Tuesday morning, some of Halloran’s colleagues were calling for him to step down. 

State Senator Megan Hunt (I) wrote on X that in her view, “Halloran should resign. How dare he even form his mouth to say the words ‘Give me a blow job Senator Cavanaugh.’ He said that because he wanted to say it. It was beyond the pale. Pure aggression to read a rape scene out loud and put it like that. Broken brain.” 

Republican State Sen. Julie Slama wrote that “Halloran should resign for this.” 

“I know how this crowd operates. Bet there’s plenty of laughs happening as certain senators pretend it’s funny to treat colleagues this way,” she added in another post, “Nope. Hell nope. I’m out of words, but y’all can be damn sure I’ll find them by morning session.”

Jane Kleeb, Chair of the Nebraska Democratic Party, demanded the Republican Party hold Halloran accountable and pointed to a pattern of past vile rhetoric from the lawmakers. “What in the hell is wrong with Halloran and the Republican Party leadership. You must resign Halloran. We’ve known of disgusting comments made over the years at the country club when he thought he was in ‘safe’ crowd. This is a pattern, not a one off comment,” she wrote. 


Last year, Halloran was at the center of a firestorm of controversy after the claimed that women cannot get pregnant by force. “No one’s forcing anyone to be pregnant. Pregnancy’s a voluntary act between two consenting adults,” he said during a floor debate. 

Cavanaugh and Halloran did not immediately respond to requests for comment from Rolling Stone. 

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