The Arlington County police report said he was drunk. And if you’ve been wondering why he had cuts on his face in the police mug shot, a witness told me that the woman pulled out a cellphone and started hitting him with it.
Lt. Col. Jeffrey Krusinski was “removed from his position immediately” when the Air Force learned of his arrest, an Air Force spokeswoman said. But then something revealing happened: The military tried to take the case away from Arlington authorities.
Defense Department officials asked the Arlington commonwealth’s attorney, Theo Stamos, to just turn it over to them. Don’t bother with your little county court stuff. Why don’t you just let us handle our boy over here at the Pentagon?
But Stamos, to her credit, refused.
“They did ask that we relinquish prosecution, and we didn’t,” said Stamos, who has spent a career working just beyond the Pentagon’s doorstep.
“Obviously, being where we are in Arlington, we have to prosecute members of the military routinely,” Stamos said. But this was the first time in her two decades as a prosecutor that the military asked for a case, and she was surprised by the request.
The case was on her turf.
It had been a slow night in Arlington: a stolen Buick LaSabre and a burglary in which a Dell laptop, a gold ring and $60 were taken. So cops responded quickly when the woman called for help about 12:30 a.m. Sunday.
Cpl. Geoffrey Gammell of the Arlington police arrived, a man as beefy and close-cropped as Krusinski, and treated the incident with the seriousness it deserved. He booked Krusinski on a misdemeanor charge of sexual battery. If convicted, Krusinski faces up to a year in prison.
Krusinski declined to comment on the case when approached after his arraignment Thursday in Arlington County General District Court.
Some people say Krusinski is a familiar figure along a faded strip of restaurants and pubs in Arlington. It’s walking distance from the Pentagon and his apartment. One waitress I interviewed recognized his booking mug right away: “Oh, he’s the one who orders just sausages” when he’s been drinking.
“He’s nice!” she said. “I feel bad for him.”
Krusinski, an Air Force Academy graduate with lots of military medals, a $132,000-a-year salary and no public record of lawbreaking, is a guy who uses a picture of a football field as his Facebook profile photo, stays in touch with his high school wrestling buddies from Ohio, and lists sports pubs and Malcolm Gladwell books as Facebook “likes.”
At one of his “liked” bars in Arlington, the folks said he’s a regular. He’s known as a nice guy, no problems. At another, the bartender told me I had to talk to the owner when I asked her if she knows Krusinski.