A 71-year-old GOP Connecticut politician claimed that his pinching of a 57-year-old female town employee in the genitals was permissible because we live in a “new world” and he didn’t have to “be politically correct.”
Christopher von Keyserling, a Republican member of the Representative Town Meeting, the local legislative body that governs Greenwich, Conn., was arrested on January 11 and charged with sexual assault 4th degree but denied he had acted improperly.
According to the warrant for von Keyserling’s arrest, in mid-December, the woman saw von Keyserling at the Nathaniel Witherell Home where she worked. She was accompanied by two friends, including Greenwich Assistant Director of Human Resources Erica Mahoney. They had a heated conversation; she said, “This is a new world, politically, and you need to educate your fellow politicians.” Von Keyserling allegedly answered, “If you’re proud of that, I can’t help you. You’re nothing but a lazy, bloodsucking union employee.”
The woman snapped, “F‑‑‑ you” before walking away. Later, von Keyserling entered her office; he claimed it was to speak with the woman’s co-worker. The co-worker wasn’t interested and left, prompting the woman to leave because she didn’t want to be alone with the politician. The arrest warrant stated that von Keyserling “reached between her legs from behind and pinched her in the groin area.” The woman asserted, “You’re lucky I didn’t deck you, but if you ever f‑‑‑ing touch me again I will.”
The woman reported that von Keyserling met her glare with an “evil look in his eyes,” threatening, “It would be your word against mine and nobody will believe you.”
A security camera recorded the incident; it showed the woman upset but police were unable to completely determine exactly where von Keyserling’s hand was as the woman exited.
Von Keyserling’s attorney, Philip Russell, said, “Any contact, if it occurred, it was trivial. And from my limited understanding was never meant to be malicious or sexual. The statute seems to require one or the other.”
But von Keyserling reportedly apologized for the pinch to a police detective, acknowledging, “it has gotten this out of hand.”
The woman did not initially report the incident, thinking Greenwich’s Human Resources Department was handling it, but filed a complaint on Dec. 16 after she discovered that von Keyserling had touched other employees. Von Keyserling asked a human resources employee asked if the complaint was about “the little pinch” he gave. He added that he was “the kind of guy that likes to embarrass his teenage daughter” with what he called a “gig,” saying, “that’s what this was, ‘a gig.’ ”