Eric Greitens resigned as governor of Missouri in 2018 amid a wave of scandals ranging from allegations of sexual misconduct to felony charges for using a veterans charity list to raise campaign cash. Greitens seems to have figured this puts him right at home in the GOP of 2022, and he is currently in the midst of a race to secure the party’s nomination in the race for retiring Sen. Roy Blunt’s seat in Washington. Greitens, however, faces new allegations of extreme abuse. His ex-wife on Monday accused him of physically abusing their children, taking away her personal belongs, threatening her on several occasions, and threatening to kill himself if she didn’t support him ahead of his 2018 resignation.
“In early June 2018, I became afraid for my safety and that of our children at our home, which was fairly isolated, due to Eric’s unstable and coercive behavior,” Sheena Greitens wrote in the filing, according to The Washington Post. “This behavior included physical violence toward our children, such as cuffing our then three-year-old son across the face at the dinner table in front of me and yanking him around by the hair.”
Sheena Greitens divorced Eric following the aforementioned sexual misconduct scandal in 2018, which included accusations of forcing his former hairdresser to perform oral sex on him after she cried “uncontrollably” and forbidding her from leaving his basement. Greitens was also accused of taking a photo of the hairdresser while she was blindfolded and tied up as part of an attempt to blackmail her into keeping their affair secret. Greitens has denied the blackmail attempt, but admitted to the affair.
Sheena Greitens’ testimony on Monday is part of an effort to move the dispute over the custody of their children to Austin, where she and the children now live. The filing, which was made under oath, includes horrifying details of the alleged abuse. Here are some of the allegations:
- Eric took Sheena’s phone, wallet, and keys, and Eric told her mother he did it “to prevent me from doing anything that might damage his political career.”
- One of their children returned from a visit with Eric “with a swollen face, bleeding gums, and a loose tooth.” The child said Eric hit him. Eric said they were playing around.
- Eric “repeatedly threatened to kill himself unless I provided specific public political support to him,” and that multiple people tried to limit Eric’s access to guns on multiple occasions because they feared for his safety.
- Sheena “started sleeping in my children’s room simply to try to keep them safe.”
- Eric admitted that he took the photo of the hairdresser, and threatened Sheena with “legal jeopardy if I ever disclosed that fact to anyone, even family members or a therapist.”
- Eric ordered Sheena to destroy evidence of emails to her therapist about his behavior, and threatened to accuse her of child abuse, calling her a “hateful, disgusting, nasty, vicious … lying bitch” in a phone call.
- Sheena decided to leave with the children, but Eric “threatened to come to the airport and have me arrested for kidnapping and child abuse, saying that because of his authority as a former Governor who had supported law enforcement, the police would support him and not believe me, and I would lose our children.”
- When Sheena got a job at the University of Texas in 2020, Eric threatened “to use his political influence to get my job offer revoked.”
Eric Greitens’ attorney called his client’s ex-wife “deranged” in a statement provided to the Post in response to the allegations. “This attack is nothing more than a sad attempt to force a father to yield custody of his children to a deranged individual,” the attorney wrote.
Greitens is in the middle of a hotly contested primary for Senate in Missouri. Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) has already endorsed one of his opponents, Vicky Hartzler, but former President Trump has yet to lend his support to a candidate. It wouldn’t be unheard of for Trump to throw his weight behind someone with a scandalous past, though. Trump was ready to hold a fundraiser for former Pennsylvania Senate candidate Sean Parnell even after his wife accused him of strangling her and beating their children. The accusations were lodged in November as part of a custody battle, which Parnell lost a few weeks later. Hours later, Parnell suspended his campaign.
Greitens reportedly met privately with Trump last last month.