Report Notes Swift's Stress Disorder

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Byline: Susan Palmer The Register-Guard

Suzanne Swift, the soldier who faces a summary court-martial for being absent without leave for 123 days, is suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, according to a document spelling out the facts that both she and the military prosecutor agree on.

Swift is the 22-year-old military police specialist from Eugene who said she dodged a second tour of duty in Iraq and went absent without leave last January because she couldn't face the possibility of a second round of the sexual harassment that dogged her first overseas tour. Eugene police arrested her at her mother's home in June. She was returned to Fort Lewis and since has been working in a base office filing police reports while officials investigated her allegations and decided on her punish- ment.

Swift could have faced the more serious charge of desertion, which applies to soldiers absent without leave for more than 30 consecutive days. Of the 2,432 soldiers charged with desertion in 2004, only 176 were tried by court-martial, according to Army records.

In October, Army officials said Swift would be subject to a special court-martial, a trial that could have led to a year in jail. But last week, Swift signed a deal with the military acknowledging that she had been AWOL and that she failed to deploy. In exchange, she will receive a summary court-martial, a lesser discipline that is more an administrative proceeding than a trial.

The document she signed, known as a stipulation of fact, will be made public once Swift's court-martial is complete, Fort Lewis spokeswoman Sgt. Maj. Yolanda Choates said.

But a preliminary version of the agreement obtained by The Register-Guard suggests that the military, in reaching the settlement, may be taking Swift's accusations into account, even though the military has been unable to corroborate them all. …