GREENWICH, Conn. — A well-known Greenwich Republican called a town worker "nothing but a bloodsucking lazy union employee" and later reached in from behind to place his hand between her legs and pinch her in the groin area, according to the police arrest warrant.
Christopher von Keyserling, 71, of 402 Post Road E., was arrested in Greenwich Town Hall on Wednesday afternoon and charged with fourth-degree sexual assault, police said. He posted $2,500 bond and was released to appear in court on Jan. 25.
The incident began at about noon Dec. 8 when the 57-year-old woman encountered von Keyserling in the hallway of an unnamed town facility, the warrant said.
The two briefly spoke about politics and the woman told him that "it was a new world politically" and he had to educate his fellow politicians, the warrant said. Von Keyserling is a member of Greenwich's Representative Town Meeting.
He allegedly replied: "I love this new world, I no longer have to be politically correct," according to the warrant.
She told him that if he was "proud of that I can't help you," after which he called her a lazy, bloodsucking union employee, the warrant said.
She uttered "(expletive deleted) you" and walked into her office, the warrant said. She said he followed her into the office and said he wanted to talk with her co-worker, the warrant said.
When that co-worker walked in, she said she didn't have time to speak with him and left the office, the warrant said. The 57-year-old woman decided to leave with her co-worker because she didn't want to be alone with him, the warrant said.
As she walked by, he allegedly pinched her in the groin area, according to the warrant. She threatened to punch him if he ever did that again, the warrant said.
She said he "looked back with a really evil look in his eyes and said, 'it would be your word against mine and nobody will believe you,'" according to the warrant.
On the following day, the woman accompanied by a friend and the town's Assistant Director of Human Resources went to the police department to report the incident, the warrant said. She said that she didn't want to have a criminal complaint laid against him.
A detective called von Keyserling at 6:35 p.m. and told him he was to not have any contact with the complainant and to stay away from the facility until he was contacted by the facility's executive director, the warrant said.
He told the detective that he understood and that it was all a misunderstanding, the warrant said. "He related that he was sorry he pinched her, and ... it has gotten this out of hand," according to the arrest warrant.
On Dec 16, the woman returned to police headquarters because she now wanted to move forward with the complaint, the warrant said. She said she had originally been reluctant to go forward due to a fear of retribution and the possible publicity that an investigation could bring, the warrant said.
She told the officer that she learned he had allegedly acted in a similar way with other employees and that he had told other individuals at Town Hall that the incident between the two of them was a joke, the warrant said. She said she was compelled to come forward to prevent similar acts from happening against other women, the warrant said.
Police also spoke with her about a meeting she had with von Keyserling on Dec. 9, the warrant said. He had been told to stay away from the facility and that if had concerns about that to speak with Human Resources. She had another employee sit in with her because she told police she wasn't comfortable with meeting him alone, the warrant said.
She declined to speak about the complaint, prompting him to say, "Was this about the little pinch I gave?" and further adding it was a joke and that he couldn't believe the 57-year-old woman could be offended, the warrant said. He said that he and the woman have "that kind" of a relationship. He added that "he is the kind of guy that like to embarrass his teenage daughter and he calls it a 'gig' and that's what this was 'a gig.'" He asked whether he could apologize but was told to not contact the victim and stay away from the facility.
Police said video footage from a surveillance camera on the day of the incident is consistent with the sequence of events described by the complainant.