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Greenwich Selectmen: RTM Member Accused Of Sexual Assault Should Resign

Christopher von Keyserling of Cos Cob is accused of insulting a female town employee and pinching her groin area.
Christopher von Keyserling of Cos Cob is accused of insulting a female town employee and pinching her groin area. Photo Credit: Facebook

GREENWICH, Conn. -- The Greenwich Board of Selectman is calling for the resignation of RTM member Christopher von Keyserling following his arrest last week where police said he insulted a town employee and pinched her groin.

Von Keyserling, 71, is a well-known Republican and member of the Greenwich Representative Town Meeting who was arrested on Wednesday, Jan. 11 at Greenwich Town Hall and charged with fourth-degree sexual assault.

According to police, von Keyserling encountered a 57-year-old female town employee at a town facility on Jan. 8. After a brief conversation about politics, police said von Keyserling told her, "I love this new world, I no longer have to be politically correct" before he pinched her in the groin area.

He also called her "nothing but a bloodsucking lazy union employee," according to the arrest warrant.

First Selectman Peter J. Tesei and Selectmen John Toner and Drew Marzullo released a statement Friday saying they have received numerous calls and emails from town residents "expressing concern and outrage" since the incident was first reported.

"Mr. von Keyserling has admitted to the inappropriate actions taken by him against a Town employee," the selectmen said in their statement. According to the arrest warrant, von Keyserling did acknowledge to detectives that he had pinched the woman, saying he was sorry and characterizing it as a misunderstanding.

"The reputation of the Town of Greenwich has been sullied as a result of the admitted actions of Mr. von Keyserling," the selectmen wrote. "The Town of Greenwich has a zero tolerance policy for this behavior. It is imperative that our employees feel secure and protected at all times. We do not wish to allow a perception to be created that this behavior is acceptable."

The selectmen noted that all town employees are required to undergo training with respect to sexual harassment and discrimination in order to prevent the type of behavior von Keyserling is accused of committing.

"While there is no legislative mechanism to remove an elected Greenwich official from office, the undersigned are call upon Mr. von Keyserling to resign his position as a member of the RTM, representing District 8 - Cos Cob, and as chair of the RTM's District 8 delegation," the selectmen wrote in their statement.

They said that while they "appreciate Mr. von Keyserling's years of service, it is now time for him to place the interests of the Town, its residents, employees and the Representative Town Meeting ahead of his own interests by resigning immediately."

"The undersigned hope the Representative Town Meeting and its leadership will support this call for Mr. von Keyserling's resignation."

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