Altoona Finds Soldier Not Guilty of Sexual Assault; Complaintant Forced to Come Out

An Altoona jury found that an Army Reserve officer was not guilty of sexually assaulting a female officer.  He said it was consensual sex.  She claimed otherwise.  Guess who the jurors believed?

During the trial, the woman soldier testified that she had not wanted to file charges for fear that it would come out that she was a lesbian which would impact her career.  Her testimony surprised the courtroom, but she simply stated “You asked, and I told.”

So now its more of a “Don't Tell and They Won't Ask” policy where soldiers are protecting their assailants in order to protect themselves.  What the hell kind of twisted logic is that? 

A 2006 study from the Pentagon indicates a 40% increase in the reports of sexual assaults within the military in less than one year.  40% increase!  While I'm glad people are reporting it, it makes you wonder what the hell was happening before 2005 AND who else isn't reporting it.   Advocates express concern over how the female soldier victims are being treated by the military throughout the internal investigations.

Apparently, in Altoona, it ain't so good.  Because guess what?  This female soldier is going to be investigated for outing herself.

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Before the verdict was announced, Army Reserve spokesman Jack Gordon in Coraopolis told The Associated Press that the woman's testimony would be reviewed by military officials.

Thus, LGBT soldiers are caught in particularly vicious catch 22:  report sexual assault and risk their orientation being revealed OR keep quiet and risk being further assaulted.  What a wonderful environment for female soldiers of any orientation. 

Not that I'm surprised that Altoona “We have more in common with Alabama than Philly or Pittsburgh” is the locale for this particular travesty of justice.  Friends of mine who are a heterosexual, biracial couple have wonderful stories of tolerance and openmindedness from their brief sojourn in Altoona.  It was awful enough to make Pittsburgh a sort of beacon of acceptance when they relocated to this part of the state. 



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