Suing the Department of Defense for Dereliction of Its Duty

 

Nancy Parrish
Huffington Post
April 23, 2012

 

This past Friday, Protect Our Defenders partnered with Susan Burke to file a lawsuit against West Point and the Naval Academy. The suit accuses the academies of failing to prosecute cadets and midshipmen who have raped their fellow students.

Burke filed the lawsuit four days after Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta announced what were touted as major reforms in the way the military handles sexual assault and rape. In reality, these so-called “reforms” fall well short of the fundamental reform required. The new policy does very little to address the culture of tolerance for rape that pervades the U.S. military and has given rise to the existing epidemic.

Plaintiffs Kelly Marquet and Anne Kendzior courageously stepped forth alleging their military academies “have a high tolerance for sexual predators in the ranks and ‘zero tolerance’ for those who rape…”

To read the full article at the Huffington Post, click here.

 

The Pentagon Is Camouflaging the Truth About Rape in the Military

 

Nancy Parrish
Huffington Post
April 20, 2012

On Friday of last week, the Department of Defense issued its Annual Report on Sexual Assault in the Military. First conducted in 2004, this report has helped shine a light on the severity and scope of the crisis of rape in the US military. The disturbing statistics that have been reported include the stunning estimate that, in FY 2010, there were 19,000 sexual assaults among Active Duty personnel.

The 2011 report validates our worst fears. The data shows that the military’s handling of sexual assaults is getting worse, much worse. Charges, courts-martial and convictions plummeted, but there is absolutely no indication that sex crimes decreased.

But while the report is extremely troubling, of even greater concern is the Pentagon’s determined effort to confuse and misinform the public about its own findings.

To read the full piece at the Huffington Post, click here.

 

To reach for web site archive of  the Department of Defense Annual Reports on Sexual Assaults in the Military, click here.

 

 

Nancy Parrish is the President of Protect Our Defenders.

 

Click here to learn more about how the organization is working to “honor, support and give voice to the brave women and men in uniform who have been raped or sexually assaulted by fellow service members. “

Betrayal of Trust?
Allegations of Rape at
West Point, Annapolis

 

Kyra Phillips and Jessi Joseph
CNN.com
April 22, 2012

 

Karley Marquet and Annie Kendzior said they enrolled at two of the nation’s most prestigious military academies to serve their country and become military officers. Instead, they claim, they were raped — and their military careers are now over.

In a lawsuit filed in U.S. Federal Court on Friday, the women claim the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, New York, and the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, ignored “rampant sexual harassment.”

The suit claims former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, the former superintendents of the two academies and the current secretaries of the Army and Navy are “personally responsible” for failing to “prevent rapes and sexual assaults at the Naval Academy and West Point.”

Karley Marquet was a high school honor student, championship swimmer and all-star rugby player. She could have gone to college anywhere with her credentials, but Marquet chose West Point.

“When I was accepted, it was kind of overwhelming,” she says. “You can’t imagine having that structure and discipline but at the same time having people look at you like, ‘Wow, you’re doing something great for our country.'”

But Marquet said her dream of becoming an officer was shattered in January 2011, her second semester at West Point.

To read the full story at CNN.com, click here.

 

To read the lawsuit filed against West Point and the Naval Academy on behalf of Karley Marquet and Annie Kendzior, click here.

If you were raped or sexually assaulted while on active duty in 2002 or later, you may be able to join the ongoing litigation efforts supported by Protect Our Defenders, the Service Women’s Action Network, and others. Please contact the Burke PLLC paralegal Miranda Petersen at mpetersen@burkepllc.com for more information.

 

Additional Reporting:

Protect Our Defenders Supports Lawsuit Against US Military For Failure to Protect Cadets at Service Academies from Rape or Sexual Assault

Two MORE Female U.S Service Members Claim They Were Raped at Military Academies Then Punished for Reporting the Assaults, MailOnline, April 21, 2012

Women Sue West Point and Naval Academy for Being Awful to Rape Victims, Jezebel, April 21, 2012

Former Mid Sues Naval Academy Over Rapes, Baltimore Sun, April 20, 2012

Former Mid Files Federal Lawsuit Over Alleged Rape, hometownannapolis.com, April 20, 2012

2 Sue Service Academies Over Assault Response, ArmyTimes, April 20, 2012

March 28, 2012 is the last day to vote for Protect Our Defenders in the @DoGooder Video Awards. Winning will mean more resources to do the work that they do for our veterans.

Click here VOTE for Protect Our Defenders.

To visit the Protect Our Defenders web site, click here.

Military Rape Speech 18 by Congresswoman Jackie Speier

 

 

“Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I rise again to highlight the epidemic of sexual assault and rape in the military.

Next week will mark the one-year anniversary of my first floor speech on this issue. That day I told the story of Technical Sergeant Mary Gallagher who was raped by a co-worker while deployed in Iraq. The week leading up to the rape, Sergeant Gallagher’s assailant harassed her, stalked her and attempted to break into her room. Though she twice reported the assailant’s threatening behavior, her command did nothing about it. They called it a, quote, “he said, she said scenario.”

Justice was not served.”

To read the full speech by Congresswoman Jackie Speier, click here.

 

 Are you a survivor of rape or sexual assault in the military? 

Congresswoman Speier is personally inviting you to share your story by e-mailing stopmilitaryrape@mail.house.gov. If you choose to share your experience with the Congresswoman, please indicate whether or not you are willing to give her your permission to share it on the House floor.

If you have experienced rape, sexual assault or harassment in military service, know that there are resources to help you. 

 

24/7 Emergency Crisis Care with offices in
Washington DC and Cambridge MA.
MRCC also has representatives in 35 states
as well as Japan, Germany and England.

Survivor Support Network:
Services, Resources, Hotlines, MST Forums, and Suggestions

Sexual Assault Support for the DoD Community

Military Sexual Assault Litigation News Conference

 

Burke PLLC
C-Span
March 6, 2012

A news conference was held to announce the filing of a military sexual assault lawsuit (Civil Action 12-0350) with the U.S. District Court in Washington, DC. The case involves eight current and former members of the U.S. military who allege they were raped, assaulted, or harassed during their service. The lawsuit accuses the military of having a high tolerance for sexual predators in their ranks and discourages victims of sexual assault from coming forward.

To view the Military Sexual Assault Litigation news conference from the C-SPAN video library, click here.   [C-Span Program ID 304776-1]

 

Participants:

Susan Burke, Lead counsel for veterans, Burke PLLC

Two former U.S. Marine Corps officer survivors

Linda Hallman, Executive Director and CEO American Association of University Women

Col. Ann Wright (Ret.), U.S. Army

Nancy Parrish, President, Protect Our Defenders

Anu Bhagwati, Executive Director, Service Women’s Action Network; Former Marine Corps Captain

Eleanor Smeal, President, Feminist Majority


Additional Information:

Press Release from Service Women’s Action Network

National Press Club Statement by Anu Bhagwati Executive Director, Service Women’s Action Network

Rape in the Military Lawsuit Filed in Federal Court Today

Eight Military Women Allege Rape, Assault in Lawsuit

 

 

 

Victims of Military Rape Deserve Justice

 

Rep. Jackie Speier
Special to CNN
February 8, 2012

Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta has announced new initiatives to curtail what he calls “the epidemic” of rape and sexual assaults in our armed forces. In 2010, an estimated 19,000 service members were raped or sexually assaulted by other service members. Clearly, more resources devoted to counseling for victims and training for prosecutors and judges will help.

But the incidence of unpunished rapes will continue and so will the damaging effects these illegal acts have on troop morale and preparedness. This epidemic requires an overhaul of the military justice system.

To read the full piece on CNN, click here.

Additional Reporting:

DoD Seeks to Crack Down on Sex Assaults in Ranks,  Reuters,  Jan. 18, 2012

Panetta: Could be 19,000 Military Sex Assaults Each Year, MSNBC.com, Jan 18, 2012

 

To view Rep. Speier’s speeches to the House on the issue of military rape, click here.

Rep. Speier is the honorary chair of Protect Our Defenders, an organization that supports women and men in uniform who have been raped or sexually assaulted by fellow service members. Those who wish to share their stories can do so at Protect Our Defenders.