Scrolling through Facebook one day last spring, a Hartford County woman came across a sponsored post for a political newcomer named Thomas Gilmer, a Republican running for Congress in Connecticut's 2nd District.
The ad rattled her. "In my head, I said 'this has to be a joke,"' she said.
She had dated Gilmer from Dec. 2016 to June 2018. Initially, she said, he was charming and they bonded over a shared love of travel and music; they recorded some songs together for fun. But soon, she said, his behavior changed, culminating in the alleged attack.
"I saw that Gilmer was running for Congress and when I realized he was advancing further and had a chance to represent a part of the state, I said this is wrong," the woman told the Courant.
Through a quick Google search, she learned Gilmer had a Republican opponent, Justin Anderson, a U.S. Army combat veteran who served in Afghanistan. Both men were vying for the chance to unseat veteran Democratic Congressman Joe Courtney in Connecticut's sprawling 2nd District.
The woman messaged Anderson and eventually provided him with a copy of surveillance video of a violent attack in 2017. The video shows Gilmer punching the victim in the face, jumping on top of her as she falls to the ground and attempting to choke her, according to information contained in Gilmer's arrest warrant.
The investigating officer notes in the warrant that it appears that the victim is "struggling for her life" and is kicking and flailing to try to escape the choke hold.
"Gilmer then performs a martial arts move and wraps his legs around the victim, subduing her arms and legs from flailing around," the warrant reads. At that point the 30-second video clip ends.
Wethersfield police also investigated a case involving the victim on June 3, 2017, according to the warrant. The victim suffered fractured to multiple teeth and a cut on her forehead, but told police it was a result of a seizure. In May of this year she spoke to police again and told them that she lied in 2017 because she was scared, and told police that Gilmer assaulted her, according to the warrant.
Karen Jarmoc, executive director and CEO of the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence, said she finds the details of the case troubling.