Categorized | USA

Lawsuit Alleges Tolerance for Rape, Sex Abuse in Military

NOVANEWS

 by crescentandcross in Uncategorized 

military.com

VIRGINIA BEACH — A female Sailor who worked in a support role for a Virginia Beach-based SEAL team is one of 28 plaintiffs who allege in a federal lawsuit that they were raped or sexually assaulted with virtual impunity while on military duty.

The plaintiffs — 25 women and three men from all of the services — accuse two former defense secretaries, Donald Rumsfeld and Robert Gates, of allowing the perpetuation of a military culture in which sexual abusers go unpunished and are even promoted, while their victims are discouraged from seeking justice and subjected to harassment and retaliation when they do.

Petty Officer 1st Class Amy Lockhart alleges she was raped by a member of a Beach-based SEAL team while she was blacked out after a night of drinking with Sailors during a pre-deployment training trip to California in February 2010. She also says her senior enlisted leader failed to take her accusations seriously, dismissing them with degrading, sexually charged language, including calling her a “slut.”

When Lockhart pressed ahead with the rape allegation, it was investigated by the Navy and the charge was dismissed after a preliminary hearing on grounds of insufficient evidence. After a separate investigation, her senior enlisted leader, a command master chief petty officer, was stripped of his position and reassigned.

Navy SEALs — highly trained, secretive, sea-air-land commandos — are still an all-male enclave, but an increasing number of their support personnel are women.

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