By Deena Winter | Nebraska Watchdog
LINCOLN, Neb. – A director of a national child welfare center in Washington, D.C., was arrested and jailed Monday night for allegedly exposing himself to four teenage girls in a Lincoln hotel.
He was in town to help the state Department of Health and Human Services work on child welfare issues.
Steven L. Preister, 68, was cited by police after allegedly confronting the girls as they exited a stairwell and began lecturing and yelling at them for being too loud. He allegedly followed them to their room and held the door open despite their attempts to close it – all while intoxicated and wearing nothing but a T-shirt, according to Katie Flood, a police officer with the Lincoln Police Department.
Police were called shortly before 10 p.m. to the Cornhusker Marriott Hotel, where four girls, ages 14 to 15, said they were confronted by Preister. Two adult chaperones and another hotel guest reportedly witnessed the incident.
Preister was cited and jailed for disturbing the peace and public nudity because his genitals were exposed. He was released from jail Tuesday.
The Washington, D.C., man is associate director of the National Child Welfare Resource Center for Organizational Improvement. He is listed as a faculty member at the Cutler Institute for Health and Social Policy at the Muskie School of Public Service, which “develops innovative approaches to pressing health and social challenges faced by individuals, families, and communities.”
Flood said Preister was in Lincoln to speak and provide assistance with child abuse investigations. Kathie Osterman, spokeswoman for the state Department of Health and Human Services, said Preister was recommended by the feds to give the state technical assistance. She said he had a brief pre-meeting Monday afternoon and his meeting scheduled for Tuesday was canceled. She said no plans have been made to reschedule at this time.
According to his work bio, Preister provides training and assistance to states and tribes on issues involving child welfare.
Previously, Preister was executive director of the National Association for Family-Based Services, deputy executive director of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy. He also taught graduate social work at The Catholic University of America, and directed a family service agency, a university family research center, and a family policy and education foundation.
The girls were staying at the hotel while attending the Nebraska Family, Career and Community Leaders of America state leadership conference.
Preister did not respond to an email requesting comment.
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