The Slatest

Woman Testifies to Disturbing Sexual Misconduct by Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens

Eric Greitens in New York City in 2012.
Eric Greitens in New York City in 2012. Craig Barritt/Getty Images for The Robin Hood Foundation

The allegations made against Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens to a state house investigative committee are serious ones: A woman outlined how Greitens pursued her, physically and sexually assaulted her, and then took compromising photos to blackmail her with if she told anyone about their encounter. The graphic description of nonconsensual sexual encounters, made under oath by a woman who was Greitens’ hairdresser, could be the impetus for state legislators to initiate impeachment hearings for the first term Republican governor, who is currently facing a felony invasion-of-privacy charge for taking and transmitting the image of the woman without her consent.

Greitens, a one-time Republican rising star who was a Navy SEAL, Rhodes scholar, and author, is set to go to trial for the invasion-of-privacy charge on May 14, but his political fate could be determined sooner. The statehouse investigation was launched by a unanimous vote after Greitens was indicted for invasion-of-privacy in February. The testimony of the woman, released Wednesday, added graphic detail to the allegations against the governor; the members of the committee said they found her to be a “credible witness.”

According to a report issued by the committee, the woman testified Greitens was a customer at her hair salon in 2013, well before he announced his candidacy for governor. She said she had a crush on Greitens, who later grabbed her crotch during an appointment in March 2015. Greitens then invited her to his home when his wife was away.

From the Associated Press:

After she arrived through the back door, the woman testified, Greitens searched her purse and “patted her down from head-to-toe.” He then asked if she had exercised and had her change into a white T-shirt with a slit on the top and pajama pants.“ I thought, oh, this is going to be some sort of sexy workout,” the woman testified.  

But once in his basement, Greitens taped her hands to pull-up rings, blindfolded her, started kissing her, ripped open the shirt and pulled down her pants, the woman testified. She didn’t give consent to be disrobed or kissed, the report said. The woman testified that she then heard a click, like of a cellphone picture, and saw a flash.

The woman testified that Greitens told her: “Don’t even mention my name to anybody at all, because if you do, I’m going to take these pictures, and I’m going to put them everywhere I can. They are going to be everywhere, and then everyone will know what a little whore you are.”

After telling Greitens, “I don’t want this,” the woman testified that Greitens unbound her hands. She said she started “uncontrollably crying.” She said Greitens then grabbed her in a hug and laid her down. She said he put his penis near her face and she gave him oral sex. Asked by the committee whether the oral sex was coerced, she responded: “Coerced, maybe. I felt as though that would allow me to leave.”

The woman testified that she had several more sexual encounters with Greitens that turned violent, including one in June 2015, when she says he slapped her in the face for sleeping with her husband. During another encounter, she said “out of nowhere just, like kind of smacked me and grabbed me and shoved me down on the ground, and I instantly just started bawling.”

The allegedly abusive sexual relationship became public years later after the woman confessed to her husband at the time she had an affair with Greitens. The couple later divorced and, she said, her then-husband said he was “going to get this guy one day.” Two years later, he leaked an audio tape to the media on which the woman discussed the affair. In January, Greitens admitted to having an extramarital affair, but denied slapping or blackmailing the woman and refused calls that he resign, including some within his own party. “This is a political witch hunt,” Greitens said shortly before the report was released Wednesday. “This is exactly like what’s happening with the witch hunts in Washington, D.C.”