LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — A judge granted a protection order Monday against Nebraska Lt. Gov. Lavon Heidemann after his sister accused him of grabbing her wrists and pushing her out of their mother's home.
District Court Judge Daniel E. Bryan Jr. approved the order after Heidemann's sister, Lois Bohling, said in a sworn statement that he acted in a threatening manner and assaulted her during a prolonged dispute over farmland and their 84-year-old mother's care.
Heidemann, an Elk Creek farmer, is looking to return to his position in state government as the running mate of Republican gubernatorial candidate Pete Ricketts. The two are running against Democratic hopeful Chuck Hassebrook and his running mate, Jane Raybould.
Heidemann said he disputes many of his sister's statements, but he did not specify which ones.
"This is a private, legal family matter regarding disagreements resulting from my dad's estate, as well as the best possible medical treatment for my mom. I dispute much of my sister's claims," he said in a statement released by the governor's office. "My immediate family has great support from the rest of our family, our church and our friends — we appreciate that support so very much in this difficult time, as we work toward a full resolution."
Representatives for Ricketts and Gov. Dave Heineman said they both were still reviewing the situation.
Heineman did not want to rush to judgment on his lieutenant governor's family situation, said Jen Rae Wang, the governor's communications director. The Ricketts campaign said it needed more time to absorb the circumstances.
"This is a very difficult time for the Heidemann family," Ricketts said in a statement.
Heidemann, 55, was appointed to the lieutenant governor's position in February 2013. He previously served eight years as a state senator, and was elected to the University of Nebraska Board of Regents shortly before he was chosen for his current post.
Heidemann's name has already been approved for the November ballot, and state law requires a certificate of death for a candidate to be removed, according to the secretary of state's office.
Bohling alleges that Heidemann first got into a heated argument with her in December 2013 when their mother gathered the family to talk about how to disburse their deceased father's property. Bohling contends that Heidemann shouted at her and nearly came over the table at her, "like a wild man," which frightened her. From that point forward, she said, she tried to avoid her brother.
In August, Bohling said she prepared papers to terminate a lease on land that Heidemann and one of his brothers had farmed. All of the siblings had agreed to the arrangement, but Bohling said she learned on Aug. 18 that Heidemann was angry that the notice had been sent, according to the statement.
Bohling alleges Heidemann physically assaulted her on Aug. 19 at their mother's home. Bohling, who described herself as their mother's primary caregiver, said she saw Heidemann drive up as their mother was preparing for an afternoon nap. She said she tried to leave but encountered Heidemann in the bedroom.
According to the statement, Bohling left the room but returned after she overheard Heidemann talking with their mother about her prescription drugs. Bohling said she had just been to a pharmacist to get the drugs, when Heidemann charged at her.
According to the statement, Heidemann began shouting at her and she raised her hands.
"He was screaming at me with his face no more than six inches from my face," Bohling said in the statement, dated Aug. 27. "He was forcefully holding on to both of my arms at the wrist area and screamed, 'YOU STAY AWAY FROM HER.'"
Heidemann then allegedly walked with his sister to the door and pushed her out. Bohling said she went to her vehicle and left.
Bohling alleged that their mother tried to bring the two together again on Aug. 21 to "talk it out," but Bohling said she was afraid.
"Until it is obvious or proven that he no longer has a problem controlling his anger, I want Lavon to stay away from me, my husband and my children," she said.