A seven-month Express-News investigation into the pervasive and long-standing problem of sexual assaults in the military shows that victims who report the incidents often are retaliated against and discharged on false claims that they have mental disorders.
“Twice Betrayed,” a three-part report, will publish on May 19-21. It will feature a multimedia package in print and online at mySA.com, with graphics, photos and video interviews of victims telling their own stories.
The report shows:
Many of the victims accused of mental disorders had undergone strict background checks, the rigors of boot camp and several years in the military with no mental health problems. As a result of the psychiatric discharges, victims often become ineligible for health care benefits because the military considers such disorders to be pre-existing conditions. For some victims, the bad mark on their records affects their ability to find future employment.
The tendency to blame the victims discourages them from reporting the assaults, and those who do often must remain in close proximity to their offenders, despite a Pentagon directive to let them quickly transfer to other posts.
According to Defense Department reports, only a small fraction of accused soldiers face criminal investigations, largely because commanders who supervise the accused determine how to handle such cases.
The victims’ testimonials are compelling and heart-wrenching. Don’t miss this exclusive report starting Sunday, May 19.
San Antonio Express-News
Founded in 1865, the San Antonio Express-News is a division of the Hearst Newspapers Partnership, L.P. The Express-News is San Antonio’s daily newspaper, which also produces a variety of diverse publications, including the bilingual publication Conexión, as well as community newspapers reaching broad audiences throughout San Antonio and its surrounding areas. With its fast-growing web audience, the Express-News also reaches the community with San Antonio’s home page – www.mySA.com and its newly launched premium site, ExpressNews.com.