The governor of Missouri, Eric Greitens, has been accused of sexually assaulting a woman he previously admitted to having an affair with.
The situation around Greitens is heating up. While he admitted to having a consensual sexual affair with his hairdresser in 2015, her testimony to a Missouri State House Special Investigative Committee on Oversight investigating Greitens paints a bit of a different picture, with accusations of blackmail, and an unwanted physical assault.
But outside of Missouri, you may not know who Greitens is. In this article, we’re going to present the things you need to know about Greitens, and the current accusations made about him.
1) Before He Was Governor, He Was a Navy SEAL
Before he went into politics, Eric Greitens served in the Navy from 2001 to 2007. Greitens graduated from Basic Underwater Demolitions/SEAL in 2002. He was deployed numerous times during his active service, ending up serving in Afghanistan, Iraq, Southeast Asia, and the Horn of Africa.
Greitens’ career in the military was quite distinguished, as he was given numerous awards for service, including a Bronze Star, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Purple Heart, Joint Service Achievement Medal, Navy Commendation Medal, the Combat Action Ribbon, Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal, and Navy Achievement Medal.
2) Greitens Was a White House Fellow
In 2005, Greitens was made a White House Fellow by then-President George W. Bush. The White House Fellow program was established to help future politicians get a working knowledge of how government works at the highest of levels.
During his time as a White House Fellow, Greitens worked with the Department of Housing and Urban Development in an effort to engage university architecture and engineering students to help with the rebuilding efforts of New Orleans after the devastation created by Hurricane Katerina.
3) The Affair Began in 2015
While Greitens only admitted to the affair in January 2018, it actually began years earlier in 2015. The affair, according to Greitens, was completely consensual and occurred during his run for Governor of Missouri. According to the hairdresser, the affair lasted from March 2015 to October 2015.
4) Greitens Was Married at the Time, and Still Is
At the time of the affair, Greitens was married to his second wife, Sheena Greitens. She is a graduate of Stanford University, and earned her Ph.D. in government from Harvard. She is currently an assistant professor at the University of Missouri.
The couple married in 2011 and have two boys, Joshua and Jacob. Despite the public nature of the affair, as of this writing, the couple are still together. After the allegations were made public, a number of statements were made, including one from Sheena. Her statement said:
“We have a loving marriage and an awesome family; anything beyond that is between us and God. I want the media and those who wish to peddle gossip to stay away from me and my children.”
5) The Hairdresser Accused Sexual Assault
While Greitens admitted to the affair occurring, he stated from the beginning that it was consensual. The hairdresser at the center of the story stated otherwise under oath.
In her testimony to the Special Investigative Committee on Oversight, the woman, known as Witness 1 in a 24-page report, claims numerous instances of the affair where Greitens committed acts on her that were not consented to. These include being spanked, slapped, unwanted fondling, and coerced into oral sex. The committee also spoke to two other witnesses who Witness 1 told details of the affair to. According to the committee, the details and stories remain consistent.
It is important to note that, while Greitens denied the charges, he refused to take part in the Special Investigative Committee on Oversight investigation.
6) Impeachment a Possibility
While currently no crime has been committed, as no actual charges have been made, the allegations of sexual assault may still have a huge impact on Greitens’ political career, as many are calling for his impeachment.
Impeachment of a governor is a multi-step process. First, the House has to rule on the impeachment of the governor. After that point, it then goes to a Senate panel of seven judges. Those judges then conduct a trial to see if Greitens should be removed from office.
For his part, Greitens stated that the entire event is being blown out of proportion, and used as ammunition for a political witch hunt by his rivals.