Court to Decide if Military Rape Victims Can Sue Defense Dept.

Thursday, November 17, 2011
Donald Rumsfeld and Robert Gates (Photo: AP)
A federal judge in Virginia is expected this week to rule whether 28 current and former military personnel can sue the Department of Defense for not taking action to curb rape in the armed services.
Filed against former defense secretaries Robert Gates and Donald Rumsfeld, the lawsuit contends that Pentagon leaders allowed the violation of soldiers’ constitutional rights by failing to curb sexual assaults.
The 28 plaintiffs consist of 25 women and three men, all of whom allege they were raped or sexually assaulted by fellow soldiers, and that the Defense Department failed to do anything after the attacks.
Pentagon attorneys have asked the judge to throw out the case on grounds that the agency cannot be sued thanks to the Feres Doctrine, which has given the Defense Department immunity from civil and criminal matters since the 1950.
There were 3,158 rapes reported last year to the Defense Department’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office. However, this number is much lower than the total, given that a Pentagon report in March estimated there were 19,000 sexual assaults in 2010.
Of the 19,000 only 20% were prosecuted, which is half the rate of the civilian justice system.
-Noel Brinkerhoff
17 Victims Sue Rumsfeld and Gates over Failure to Deal with Military Rapes (by Noel Brinkerhoff and David Wallechinsky, AllGov)

Kori Cioca et al. v. Donald Rumsfeld and Robert Gates (U.S. District Court, Eastern Virginia) (pdf) 


ted 12 years ago
one of the problems that veterans face when raped and sexually assaulted in the military, is the fact that they cannot prove they were attacked, as the military chain of command never puts the attack in their files. not being able to prove the attack, they are denied benefits from ptsd, among others, then to add insult to injury they are discharged with personality disorders, thereby denying them further benefits, while allowing the perpetrators full benefits, and never having to face any discipline for their actions.
Jeffrey Ziegler 12 years ago
every time i see a post on the feres doctrine, it makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. anyone is dreaming if they think they are going to get around feres - it even protects the us military from legal malpractice. while i was on active duty with the us army, i was threatened by a us army lawyer named captain matthew fitzgerald to do something which was contrary to the us army legal regulations (which i did not know at the time but he did). fitzgerald’s motive was to tout this as his first accomplishment on his annual performance report of which i later got a copy. this threat resulted in my losing over $50,000 of my personal funds. when i asked the top lawyer (now lieutenant general dana chipman) for assistance, the first thing they did was appoint fitzgerald’s previous boss and a very obvious friend to “investigate.” since there was no wrongdoing found as a result of this faux investigation but specifics were protected by the privacy act , i filed the same complaint with fitzgerald’s oregon state bar which is not protected under privacy laws. evidence showed that fitzgerald lied no less than 10 times to his oregon state bar. it was all thrown out of federal court due to feres although i had a slam-dunk case with all evidence in my favor. in fact, i was never even able to get into court and present my case. the judge simply had his law clerks cut-and-paste a previous reply to a previous case. just to add insult to my financial injury, fitzgerald got promoted to major. feres was never designed 60 years ago to protect against torts, corruption, misdeeds, and cover-ups by us army lawyers. today it protects against everything - no matter how flagrant the act.

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