Thursday, August 21, 2014
Woman Claims Sexual Harassment at Fort Jackson
COLUMBIA, S.C. (WOLO) -- As the investigation into Fort Jackson's Commanding General continues, more allegations of sexual harassment on base have been made public.
The allegations ABC Columbia News just learned of do not involve Generaly Bryan Roberts. But, one woman, who does not want to be identified, tells ABC Columbia News the allegations do signal a growing culture of abuse in the military.
"I feel if you don't stand up for what's right, it's never going to change," says the woman.
Not wanting to be identified a woman with ties to Fort Jackson called ABC Columbia News to tell her story of what she calls sexual harassment.
"A Lt. Colonel repeatedly would come up and rub my neck and the back of my shoulders and he would always tell me that he still loved me," says the woman.
The woman says the incidents started in July of last year and continued for months.
"One time I went to a luncheon and he blocked my passage way to get to the table and tried to give me a hug and I said no, I save those for my husband,"says the woman
Finally, she told her husband.
"My husband had filed a complaint, and in it he mentioned me, because I didn't want to come forward. I spoke with the Brigade Commander and then I went to General Roberts. I was told that yes he did touch me, however, it was just his mannerism," says the woman
ABC Columbia News contacted Fort Jackson and we're told there was an investigation into the allegations, but they were determined unfounded.
We also received a statement that says, in part, "We ensure all leaders understand their responsibilities in responding to sexual assault/harassment victims, we thoroughly investigate allegations of sexual assault/harassment, and take appropriate administrative and disciplinary action when warranted."
The statement goes on to say, "It has no place in the Army."
But, the woman we spoke with says it's happened before.
"There was a previous incident with a private that was in basic training who had committed sexual assault and was found guilty by CID and this Lieutenant Colonel downgraded it," says the woman.
Fort Jackson also confirms this incident and says the Soldier was discharged from the Army.
Recent statistics show asssault claims are on the rise in the military with 26,000 cases reported last year.
"I don't know if it's deployments or the separation but it seems to be more common than not," says the woman
But, she says, the actions disgrace the uniform.
"The regulation is black and white, it's not grey for the good ole' boy system. It's you follow the rules and there are people that die for those rules. I believe it's a disgrace."
As for the investigation involving General Roberts, ABC Columbia News has learned CID (Criminal Investigation Division) Officers are on base conducting a criminal investigation into the matter.
We will continue to follow this story, bringing you more when it becomes available.
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