NORFOLK, Neb. -- The American Legion in Nebraska has issued a public censure against its acting department commander and other members.

The decision came late Friday morning at the Nebraska American Legion's mid-winter conference. It comes after department commander Don Suchy and other Legion officers attended a pardon board meeting in September of 2022.

At that meeting, Legion member John Arias, who was convicted in 1993 of sexually assaulting his wife, was asking for a pardon. Arias, who lived in Ogallala at the time of the crime but now resides in Grand Island, eventually received the pardon.

Some Legion officers went to the pardon hearing wearing their American Legion hats, an act that other members say went against policy. Arias' defenders said that he had served his time and was reformed.

Arias' ex-wife learned of his pardon by reading a story in the Nebraska Examiner.

As a result, a group called "What About Us?" began seeking the resignations of officials who wore their hats in the parole hearing. 

Those who attended and wore hats were instead censured, meaning they will keep their positions but lose their votes. This was decided in order to keep the national appointment members from Nebraska, as they would lose representation at the national level if they were removed.