Legislature finds credible allegations of forced sex by Missouri governor
A woman with whom Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens (R) admitted to having an affair has told state legislators the former Navy SEAL forced her into multiple sexual encounters in the year before he ran for public office, according to a report issued by legislative leaders.
The 24-page report, based on hundreds of pages of interview transcript also made public on Wednesday, details allegations the woman made against Greitens — allegations the legislators who heard testimony from multiple witnesses found credible.
Greitens is a Republican. The committee that compiled the report was made up of seven members, five of whom are Republicans.
Greitens, in response, on Wednesday seized on one element of the woman’s testimony — in which she said she had not seen a photograph she alleges Greitens took of her — to attempt to discredit the entire report.
Greitens did not deny any of the specific allegations contained within the report, and his spokesman did not respond to a request for comment on the allegations.
The unidentified woman, a hairdresser, cut Greitens’s hair several times between 2013 and 2015. She said she developed a crush on him, and that she admired him for his work as a Navy SEAL and in an orphanage run by Mother Teresa in India.
But when he came in for a haircut on March 7, 2015 — about six months before announcing his campaign for governor — the woman told investigators that Greitens put his hand on her crotch without her consent.
Two weeks later, they spoke by phone, and Greitens asked to meet her at his home, while his wife was out of town, according to the woman. He refused her request to meet in public, saying he couldn’t be seen with another woman in public because he was about to run for office, she claims.
When the woman arrived at Greitens’s home early on March 21, 2015, she said he searched her from head to toe, as well as her belongings, before inviting her to a basement gym for what she described as a “sexy workout.”
“It was like he was on a mission, sort of, like this kind of high energy,” the woman told legislators. “[H]e said, ‘Will you let me take you through an exercise — like, through a workout? I just have this idea. It’s going to make you feel so good’ and — for whatever reason, I trusted him, thought this is okay.”
The woman said Greitens had selected clothes for her. She said he taped her hands to pull-up rings, then blindfolded her. She said he became controlling, spit water into her mouth, began kissing her and eventually ripped her shirt open.
He pulled down her pants, she claimed, then stepped back and snapped a photo; while the woman said she never actually saw the picture, she did see a flash, and Greitens allegedly later threatened to make the photo public if she came forward to speak about their affair.
“You’re not going to mention my name,” the woman said 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.”
As the woman tried to get out of the house, she said Greitens grabbed her in a bear hug, laid her on the ground and put his penis near her face. She said she believed she had no choice other than to perform oral sex if she were to get out of the basement.
Several months later, the woman said she and Greitens had another sexual encounter, this one consensual. But she claimed that during a third encounter, when the woman told Greitens she had slept with her husband, he slapped her in the face.
Two longtime friends of the woman said she had told them details of the incident, corroborating elements of her story to the legislative committee. The woman’s now-ex-husband also said she told him about the encounter, in a conversation he recorded surreptitiously.
On Wednesday, Greitens made a public statement before the report came out, calling the investigation a “witch hunt,” though he did not refute specific allegations made by the woman. He declined to testify to the legislature, and he declined to provide documents or answer questions under oath.
“Let’s call this what it is: A political witch hunt now based on the testimony of someone who said under oath that they may be remembering this through a dream,” Greitens said, citing part of the woman’s testimony in which she described remembering him take a photo.
She said she had never seen the photograph she accused Greitens of taking. But in earlier interviews with The Associated Press, cited by the committee, Greitens did not deny that he had taken the alleged photograph.
Greitens on Wednesday declined to take questions from reporters.
The legislative committee did not recommend any specific action be taken, though state legislative leaders have previously raised the possibility of impeachment.
Attorney General Josh Hawley (R) said in a statement late Wednesday that the report contained details that were “impeachable.” Hawley has an investigation open into other aspects of Greitens’s public life, including whether his campaign improperly obtained donor lists maintained by a charity he ran. Hawley is running against Sen. Claire McCaskill (D) this year.
Greitens refused calls to resign on Wednesday. In about a month, he will face felony invasion of privacy charges brought by a St. Louis prosecutor in connection with the case.
“In just 33 days a court of law … will prove my innocence,” Greitens said Wednesday. “In 33 days, this witch hunt will come to an end.”
– Brett Samuels contributed.
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