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.

 

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

Col. Ann Wright (ret) at the March 6, 2012 press conference for the Military Sexual Assault lawsuit at the National Press Club, Washington, D.C. Photo: Powers MediaWorks LLC

Col. Wright was interviewed about the ongoing issue of Military Sexual Assault and the recent lawsuit by Pat Thurston of radio station, KGO in San Francisco, California. You can listen to the interview by clicking on the radio below:

 (opens in a new window)

To learn more about the lawsuit filed on behalf of eight current and former members of the Navy and the Marine Corps, click here.

Military Sexual Predators Lawsuit

 

Ana Kasparian and Cenk Uygur
The Young Turks Network
March 11, 2012

 

 

Military Sexual Assault Lawsuit

 

A new lawsuit was filed in the US District Court in Washington, DC on March 6, 2012, behalf of eight current and former members of the Navy and Marine Corps. The lawsuit, filed by Susan L. Burke on behalf of the plaintiffs, charges that the

“laws designed to reduce rape, sexual assault and harassment in the Navy and Marine Corps directly and seriously harmed Plaintiffs and others who have reported rape and sexual assault and have challenged sexual harassment. Rather than being respected and appreciated for reporting crimes and unprofessional conduct, Plaintiffs and others who report are branded ‘troublemakers,’ endure egregious and blatant retaliation, and are often forced out of military service.”

The office of Burke PLLC is continuing their work on behalf of soldiers and officers who were raped while on active duty. If you were raped or assaulted, and are interested in representation, please contact the Burke PLLC office paralegal, Miranda Petersen at mpetersen@burkepllc.com for further information.

A copy of the complaint is available from the links below thanks to the staff of Burke PLLC.
(PDF and Flash versions below)

Military Sexual Assault Complaint (PDF)


Military Sexual Assault Litigation Press Update

 

The following is a collection of the reporting concerning the Military Sexual Assault Litigation filed on March 6, 2012 in U.S. District Court by Susan Burke on behalf of eight sailors and Marines  who reported being sexually assaulted, harassed and/or abused at the Marine Barracks in Washington D. C.

 

Defense Faces Lawsuit from Sexual Assault Victims, Government Executive, March 7, 2012

Speier Critical over Military’s Handling of Rape, KGO-TV, March 7, 2012

Alleged Rapes Lead to Suit, Columbia Daily Tribune, March 7, 2012

8 Women File Lawsuit, Accuse Military Of Having ‘High Tolerance For Sexual Predators In Their Ranks’, Huffington Post, March 6, 2012

8 Women Allege Rape, Harassment in Military Lawsuit, USA Today, March 6, 2012

Plaintiff in Rape Lawsuit Speaks Out, WAVY.com, March 6, 2012

Women Sue Military For Being Incredibly Rapey, Jezebel, March 6, 2012

Eight Women Allege Rape, Retaliation in U.S. Military, Reuters, March 6, 2012

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

 

 

 

Panetta, Gates, Rumsfeld Face New Suit Over U.S. Military Rape ‘Epidemic’

 

In a lawsuit filed Tuesday, the U.S. military’s top brass are accused of refusing to take action on sexual assault in the ranks and ignoring congressional mandates.

Jesse Ellison
The Daily Beast
March 6, 2012

Ariana Klay’s assignment to Marine Barracks Washington should have been the cherry on top of an already illustrious military and academic career. A National Merit scholar and superstar athlete, Klay was recruited by the Naval Academy, becoming the first member of her family to attend college. After a stint at Camp Pendleton, she served an eight-month tour in Iraq before being tapped for the prestigious base.

But shortly after her arrival, she tells The Daily Beast, the base chaplain took her aside and warned her to be careful. Within days, she says, junior Marines were calling her “slut” and “whore.” In December 2009, four months after her arrival, Klay formally requested deployment to Afghanistan. The request was denied—as were three subsequent ones. Seven months later, she says, a senior Marine officer and his friend came into her home, a block from the base, and gang-raped her. But that was just the beginning of Klay’s ordeal: because of the retaliation she says she was subjected to after reporting the rape, she fell into a deep depression, and last March she attempted suicide.

 

 

To read the full article at The Daily Beast, click here.

 

Look at the links below for more information about the documentary, The Invisible War:

The Invisible War of Military Women

The Invisible War

Cinedigm Picks up Sundance Documentary “Invisible War”

Sundance Institute | Online Film Guide

Lawsuit Claims Rape, Misconduct at D.C. Marine Barracks

 

Michael Isikoff
Today.com
March 6, 2012

Eight current and former U.S. service members are today accusing U.S. military officials of tolerating a “staggering” level of sexual assaults within their ranks in a lawsuit that focuses in part on events at one of the most prestigious Marine Corps bases in the country — the U.S. Marine Barracks in Washington D.C.

The lawsuit includes graphic charges by two former Marine Corps officers: One, Ariana Klay, a Naval Academy graduate and Iraq war veteran, charges she was gang-raped at the Barracks in Aug. 2010. Elle Helmer, the former Barracks public information officer, says she was raped by a superior officer at the Barracks in March 2006.

To read and view the reporting at Today.com, click here.

 

To read more about this issue at The Invisible War web site, including information about the lawsuit filed today by attorney Susan Burke , click here.

 

Additional reporting on this issue:

Rape in the Military Lawsuit Filed in Federal Court Today

Service Members Suing US Military for Sexual Assaults

8 Women Allege Rape, Harassment in Military Suit

(Thanks to the Military Rape Crisis Center for compiling reporting on this issue)

In this post, usmvaw offers information about some significant current events that address the ongoing problems of sexual harrassment, assault, and rape of women and men in the military.

The class-action lawsuit filed in February of this year by seventeen U.S. veterans against Defense Secretary Robert Gates and his predecessor Donald Rumsfield has been amended.

The lawsuit now lists twenty-eight plaintiffs.

The amended version is available in PDF format at the Service Women’s Action Network (SWAN) web site. To read it, click here.

On November 17th, the Military Rape Crisis Center will be joining Congresswoman Jackie Speier (CA-12) at the National Press Club in Washington DC for a press conference regarding Sexual Assault and Harassment in the Military.

Congresswoman Speier will announce legislation to address the systematic problem of sexual assault and harassment among our men and women in the military.

If you would like to attend this event, please RSVP to Congresswoman Speier’s office at 202.225.3531.

If you are an MST survivor and plan on attending, please also email panayiota@stopmilitaryrape.org