Missouri GOP governor accused of 'beyond disturbing' sexual assault


Greitens is just the latest GOP lawmaker to face credible accusations of sexual misconduct.

A woman who lawmakers deemed to be a credible witness says Eric Greitens, the Republican governor of Missouri, became physically aggressive during a series of non-consensual sexual encounters, according to a graphic new report released Wednesday by a Missouri state House committee.

In sworn testimony, the woman said that Greitens blackmailed her afterwards by threatening to release a partially nude photo he had taken of her if she ever spoke about what happened.

"You're not going to mention my name. 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," he said, according to her testimony.

Greitens has previously denied allegations of blackmail or coercion, saying the sexual relationship was a consensual extramarital affair.

The report, which found the woman's testimony to be credible, says Greiteins "spanked, slapped, grabbed, shoved and called her derogatory names" during multiple sexual encounters in 2015.

During a March 2015 encounter, the woman said she was coerced into performing sexual acts while she cried "uncontrollably." On at least three occasions, Greitens hit her, the report says.

All seven members of the House Special Investigative Committee on Oversight — including five Republicans and two Democrats — signed the 25-page report, which summarizes the findings of their investigation.

The Republican governor was indicted last month, and the House committee opened an investigation into allegations that he had taken a nude photograph of the woman without her consent.

At a press conference just an hour before the report was released, Greitens denied all of the accusations, calling the investigation a "political witch-hunt."

Greitens joins a growing list of lawmakers facing credible accusations of sexual assault.

Just last week, Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-TX) abruptly resigned to avoid an ethics investigation into his use of taxpayer dollars to settle workplace sexual harassment allegations.

Next week, a special election will be held to fill the seat vacated by Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ), who resigned after he was caught offering to pay an aide $5 million to let him impregnate her.

And then, of course, there's Trump, who stands accused of sexual assault by at least 16 women and who is facing renewed scrutiny over the Access Hollywood tape in which he bragged about being able to force himself on women.

With Trump setting the tone, Republicans have signaled that sexual assault is not a deal-breaker — and potential predators like Greitens have taken notice.