Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill’s husband was accused of domestic violence by his ex-wife, and his company once victim-blamed a woman who sued for sexual misconduct, Fox News has learned.
A graphic protection order once filed by Joseph Shepard's ex-wife even alleged he hit her, tripped her and "peed on" her.
Shepard, who married McCaskill in 2002, has come under increasing scrutiny amid media reports detailing his financial decisions and wealth-building while his wife was in office. He reportedly has received more than $131 million in federal subsidies since 2007, the year McCaskill became a U.S. senator, and also invested $1 million in a hedge fund in the Cayman Islands, a tax haven his wife wants to crack down on.
His Democratic senator wife is currently facing a challenge from Republican state Attorney General Josh Hawley in one of the tightest races in the upcoming midterms. Multiple polls indicate the candidates are virtually tied.
The allegations against Shepard and the sexual harassment lawsuit against his company date back years, but nevertheless are a startling backdrop to the senator's message regarding sexual harassment.
In a 2015 letter about sexual harassment, McCaskill wrote that “Victim-blaming in the context of sexual violence is as old as the crime itself” and that some “law enforcement officials sometimes unwilling to pursue justice because of the victim’s behavior prior to the crime.”
“’She was asking for it,’ is a sentence I have longed to see stripped from our cultural vocabulary,” she added. McCaskill also said multiple times that she believes women and their allegations of sexual misconduct.
In 1993, Shepard's then-13-year-old daughter called the police to report that her mother, Suzanne Shepard, was a victim of a late-night assault, according to a police report obtained by Fox News. Shepard was listed as the only involved person. No charges were filed after the incident.
Five years later, in 1998, police were called again to the Shepard house. The police reported the wife claiming Shepard came to retrieve a carpet from the house and got involved in a dispute over marital problems. He then “proceeded to grab her right arm and push her,” the incident report read.
The incident prompted the wife to file an adult abuse petition for order of protection against Shepard, where she provided additional details on what happened that night.
“Police called by friend in my home. Joseph entered my home. I told him to leave. He came up to me looking angry,” she wrote. “I put my hands up to protect my breasts as they are sore (cancer). He has hit me before in the breast. He grabbed my wrist and arm and pushed me up against the wall & I hit my head & back & he bruised my arms by pinching me.”
"I put my hands up to protect my breasts as they are sore (cancer). He has hit me before in the breast. He grabbed my wrist and arm and pushed me up against the wall & I hit my head & back & he bruised my arms by pinching me."
Shepard told the police officers at the time that his wife got physical first. “He said while he was attempting to load the [carpet] Mrs. Shepard began pushing him trying to get him out of the house,” police report states.
Fox News could not reach Suzanne Shepard, while the McCaskill campaign did not respond to multiple requests for a comment or an interview. Joseph Shepard also did not return requests for comment.
The protection order she filed against Shepard also recalled other previous incidents of alleged abuse.
“I am afraid of respondent and there is an immediate and present danger of abuse or stalking of me,” she claimed in the report. “He has tripped me, hit me before (police were called by my daughter), punched my cancer breast, peed on me, pushed me down and slapped me.”
“He now threatens that everything I have is his and I will end up in his low income housing and he wants to take my things,” she added.
"I am afraid of respondent and there is an immediate and present danger of abuse or stalking of me,” she claimed in the report. “He has tripped me, hit me before (police were called by my daughter), punched my cancer breast, peed on me, pushed me down and slapped me."
In later years, accusations of misconduct were also leveled against his businesses. Sugar Creek Realty – a company founded and owned by Shepard – was sued in 2009 in federal court for sexual harassment, prompting a campaign by the firm’s lawyers against the accuser.
Kristin Glemser accused the company and her female boss there of sexual misconduct, including allegedly asking her put on already-worn underwear, following her into a restroom, unbuttoning her pants without her consent, taking pictures of her in underwear without her consent and forcing her to watch her female boss simulate a sex act with another woman.
She said in a complaint obtained by Fox News that she “suffered mental anguish, inconvenience, embarrassment, the loss of the enjoyment of life and loss of employment” as a result of the incidents. In a deposition in court, the woman reiterated the claims she made in the complaint. Fox News couldn't contact Glemser.
She also said Shepard's company turned a blind eye to the rampant alleged harassment. Glemser said she “verbally” reported the incidents, but the employee responsible for dealing with such incidents “chose to do nothing about it” and tried to convince her to “go back to work” instead.
Sugar Creek initially defended against the allegations of sexual harassment, saying they weren’t aware of the accusations and the woman didn’t go through the reporting process as according to the company rules.
But in a February 2011 motion for summary judgment, Sugar Creek’s lawyers argued that her sexual misconduct claims weren’t “sufficiently severe or pervasive,” she was a “willing participant” in the “modeling” of the underwear, and she didn’t follow the company policy.
The lawyers also went on to diminish Glemser’s credibility by pointing out to her previous career as a model, asking her whether some of her modeling “pictures show you in considerably less clothing” than during the incidents she spoke about.
The company also filed a motion to make the woman’s modeling pictures part of the evidence in the case of sexual harassment in the workplace because her previous career indicated to her colleague that she “had no reason” to not be “willing to participate in modeling the [underwear].”
The accuser ultimately lost the case for employer liability after the court ruled that her claims failed because she “never returned to work.”