FALL FROM GRACE
Calls Mounting for Missouri Governor Eric Greitens to Resign Amid Sex Scandal
A woman told lawmakers Greitens coerced her into a sexual encounter. He now faces bipartisan pressure to resign.
Missouri Governor Eric Greitens was once a rising GOP star—with not-so-secret presidential ambitions. Now he faces mounting calls for his resignation amid a sex scandal that grew only more serious Wednesday night, when a state House committee released a graphic, 25-page report with testimony from a woman who claims he coerced her into a sexual encounter, then blackmailed her with a partially nude photo.
Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley was quick to call for Greitens' immediate resignation, saying the report contains “contains shocking, substantial, and corroborated evidence of wrongdoing by Governor Greitens.” Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO), the Democratic incumbent whom Hawley will challenge in November, made a similar declaration.
“I have read the official report from the Republican led Missouri House investigation, including the sworn testimony,” McCaskill said in a statement. “It is clearly time to put the interests of the people of Missouri first. The Governor should resign.”
The Missouri House committee that investigated the allegations against Greitens is now considering whether lawmakers should move to impeachment the Republican governor from office.
Greitens, a father of two and former Navy SEAL who entered office in January 2017, has maintained that his affair with a hairdresser was an “entirely consensual relationship.”
But in the report released Wednesday night, the woman told a much different—and far darker—story, detailing how he allegedly “coerced” her into giving him oral sex in his basement while she was “uncontrollably crying.”
The woman, who is referred to in the report as “Witness 1,” said that in March 2015, Greitens, whom she’d had a crush on, insisted that she come over to his St. Louis home one morning. There, he convinced her to change into loungewear so they could do what she initially thought would be a “sexy workout.”
He then blindfolded her and taped her hands to a pair of workout rings, she said. At one point, he “starts kissing kind of like down to my chest. And he takes the shirt and rips it open,” she said. Greitens proceeded to pull off her pants without her consent, then took what sounded like a photo, she said.
“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,” he threatened her, according to the report.
The woman said she felt “embarrassed and shamed”—and tried to leave, but he grabbed her in a “bear hug.” She “didn’t feel necessarily able to leave without performing oral sex,” the report says.
The pair had multiple other sexual encounters, she said. During one, he “smacked” and “grabbed” her, shoving her to the ground, the woman said.
“And I instantly just started bawling and was just like, ‘What is wrong with you? What is wrong with you?’” she told the committee.
Before the report was released Thursday night, Greitens went on offense, dismissing the allegations as nothing more than a “political witch hunt.”
“This is exactly like what’s happening with the witch hunts in Washington, D.C.,” he claimed.
Greitens was charged in February with felony invasion of privacy for allegedly taking the photo of his extramarital partner while she was partially nude without her consent. His trial is scheduled to begin May 14.