Sexual Assault and the Military—A Long Island Personal Injury Lawyer’s Perspective

There are many articles and blogs on the internet from defense lawyers about sexual assault in the military. Why is no one talking about the victims and their rights? Leah Marquet, 20, and Anne Kendzior, 22, both filed suit in Manhattan federal court, claiming that the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland and the Military Academy in West Point, NY, both tolerate sexual assault by discouraging alleged victims from reporting incidents. According to the suit, West Point and the Naval Academy “systematically and repeatedly ignore rampant sexual harassment. Both institutions have a history of failing to prosecute and punish those students found to have sexually assaulted and raped their fellow students.”

Like so many military students, Marquet and Kendzior arrived at the military academy as top honor students and star athletes who had a wide choice of colleges but chose West Point and the Naval Academy respectively. Both tell of sexual assaults that occurred in their first year that left them depressed, suicidal and afraid to come forward. Both did report the incidents and request investigations, but have never heard anything more. Both their perpetrators were never punished and are still in the military.

Marquet and Kendzior are not alone. Reports of sexual assault at military academies are up nearly 60 percent and according to the Department of Defense. And once they leave the academy, the danger only gets worse. The Pentagon now estimates that approximately 19,000 sexual assaults occur each year in the military. In fact, women in the military are more likely to be raped by American soldiers than to be killed in combat.

In a recent CNN interview, Leon Panetta, the Secretary of Defense, spoke up about the need to follow through on sexual assault claims and see that assailants are brought to justice. Panetta announced he has created a Special Victims Unit to investigate sexual assault allegations, and that sexual assault allegations will be dealt with at the level of colonel instead of slowly making their way up through the chain of command.

But will real change come?
Unfortunately, it is too late for Karley Marquet, Annie Kendzior and so many other victims. Their military careers are over. Marquet and Kendzior have said they are telling their stories so that others at the academies will feel comfortable coming forward.

Our Sexual Assault Injury Lawyers Want to Help
Our Long Island personal injury lawyers are prepared to help victims who are abused while at a military academy or while serving in the military. We understand the wide range of emotions you may be feeling—fear, confusion, embarrassment and pain—and we want to help. We have worked closely with entire families to help ease the fear, depression, pain and embarrassment you may be feeling, and we will put all our efforts into collecting the compensation you deserve for both the physical and emotional pain you have suffered. Contact us for a free, private consultation. We will answer your question, discuss your case and let you know what you can expect from the legal process.

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