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NO MORE HUGS': Texas sheriff refuses to risk sexual harassment allegations

Nueces County Sheriff Jim Kaelin said he will no longer hug people at work due to the risk of sexual harassment claims. (Image source: Corpus Christi Caller-Times video screenshot)

For one Texas sheriff, the wave of sexual misconduct allegations means it’s time for him to dial back his southern hospitality.

No more hugs.

Nueces County Sheriff Jim Kaelin posted on Facebook that he would be greeting people with handshakes and fist bumps only.

“To my FB friends let me say this to you…my hugging days (outside family and or close friends) are over. Sad, but you just don’t know when this hug might come back and bite you. The workplace, for one, can become hostile if an employee ‘feels’ threatened by your hugs…SO IT’S OVER. In the future I will offer a hand shake, or knuckle bump, but NO MORE HUGS."

Kaelin said he hopes no one will be offended when he doesn't embrace them in the future, because it's not personal.

"It might offend you that I will no longer participate in hugging you, but I have decided to discontinue receiving/giving hugs from anyone outside of my family and close friends. I hope you understand. Thanks…I’m from the old school but the time has come for me…No more hugs.”

It’s not clear whether Kaelin, a Republican who was elected in 2006, was being facetious or whether he truly felt the need to make a public announcement that his hugging days are over.

Kaelin posted the announcement the same day Matt Lauer was fired from NBC. Lauer was fired for transgressions significantly more serious than a hug.

Perhaps it’s better to be safe than sorry.

“Change is taking place and I believe a public official should keep it professional,” Kaelin wrote in response to a comment on Facebook.

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