Civilian Sex Assault Claims Targeted Army Most Alleged Rape, Other Violent Attacks

By 1996, Cox News Service | St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO), November 24, 1996 | Go to article overview

Civilian Sex Assault Claims Targeted Army Most Alleged Rape, Other Violent Attacks


1996, Cox News Service, St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)


Women and family members have filed hundreds of civil claims alleging rape and other sexual abuse against drill instructors, recruiters, medical professionals and other Army personnel since 1984, according to a review of records by the Dayton Daily News.

The accusations are not part of the unfolding Army sex scandal, which could become the largest ever to hit the military. That scandal involves sexual harassment and sexual assaults on active-duty military women, who rarely file civil claims because federal law prevents them from collecting damages.

Civilians, however, can collect in some cases, and an analysis of Army records found 250 claims filed against the Army since 1984. Most of the claims alleged rape or other violent sexual assaults. The extent of the problem is likely much greater than the number of cases suggests. Even civilians have a hard time collecting on sexual assault claims because of an exemption in federal law. That exemption limits damages in cases involving the "intentional acts" of government employees. The rationale for the exemption "is to protect taxpayers," said John Caldwell, who oversaw offices in the Western half of the United States for the Army Claims Service until a few weeks ago. The law may not bar claims involving military law enforcement officers or jailers. …

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