ALEXANDRIA, Va. (CN) – The wife of an Army sniper says she was raped by her husband’s Army friend and the Pentagon “acted incompetently at every step of the way,” losing evidence, subjecting her to repeated interrogations, and setting her “violent, mentally disturbed” rapist free and able to harm her again.
The federal complaint comes 2 months after 17 veterans and active-duty service members sued the Pentagon alleging official indifference to rapes and sexual assaults in the military.
Plaintiff R.S. says she was raped while her husband was away being trained for deployment to Iraq. R.S. says she was recovering from surgery, and on medication for it, and was staying with her aunt, who had recently married the man who raped her, O.B., an airborne division private,
She claims O.B. began raping her as she slept under the influence of the medication. “When she woke up, [O.B.] was on top of her, raping her.”
R.S. reported the rape to the installation victim advocate at Fort Stewart, who referred her to a social worker, who referred her to a military hospital for medical examination.
“She was told that a sexual assault counselor would meet her at the hospital, but none did so. This was a violation of military regulations,” the complaint states.
The complaint continues: “Defendant failed to provide [her] with a female clinician to conduct a medical examination after the rape, instead forcing [her] to be examined by a male Physician’s Assistant. [R.S.] begged to be examined by a female doctor, but was told that there was none on duty, and she would have to permit a male to conduct a pelvic examination if she wanted to press charges. The male physician’s assistant who conducted the examination did not use a rape kit, nor did he provide testing for sexually transmitted diseases.”
R.S. says that neither victim advocate nor the social worker reported the rape to military or civilian law enforcement – another violation of military regulations.
R.S. says she was repeatedly passed along, from one official to another: “Defendants repeatedly placed [her] in situations where she was forced to recount, again and again, the fact that she had been raped in order to obtain the necessary emergency assistance and medical treatment. Throughout the investigative and prosecutorial process, [she] was demeaned and insulted by those who were supposed to be prosecuting her attacker.”
She claims the military “failed to schedule the trial promptly, failed to convene the trial when scheduled, failed to thoroughly investigate the case and interview witnesses, and failed to call critical witnesses at trial.”
She says her rapist eventually was acquitted because the military “had ‘lost’ the underwear” she was wearing at the time of the rape, “which provided physical evidence that [O.B.] had ejaculated during the rape.”
She adds that the Army Criminal Investigation, in its “official chronology,” even misreported the date she was raped, placing it a week earlier than it actually was.
To top it off, she says, “after the military had wholly bungled the rape prosecution,” she got a phone call from an Army Criminal Investigative Division agent, who told her she could come and pick up her underwear.
“Defendants’ incompetence resulted in [her] violent, mentally disturbed, and potentially vengeful attacker … to be free and able to harm [her] if he so chooses,” the complaint states.
She seeks punitive damages from the United States, former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Defense Secretary Robert Gates, for negligence, deliberate indifference to rape and sexual assault, violation of due process and equal protection, and infliction of emotional distress.
She is represented by Susan Burke of Washington, D.C.