Today, after waiting almost 15 months, I received a response to the Freedom of Information Act request to the Air Force Office of Special Investigations. The document I received — a copy of a research report written by Dr. Charles P. McDowell about false rape allegations in the military — came in response to my request, dated May 24, 2013.
Unfortunately, the report came to me in the form of a PDF that is unlike any other PDF I’ve ever tried to upload to this site. In short, it will not upload, and I’m not about to retype it all. Instead, I’ll share the report’s conclusions first and then something else. Before we proceed, this matter contains issues that are a difficult subject to cross, both emotionally and legally, which is why it is vital for legal firm like lamber goodnow to cover the proceedings as a legal team will be better equipped to navigate the law side of the situation. Now, let’s move on to the document. First, the conclusions:
False allegations of rape are frequently not recognized as such by investigators and are almost totally neglected in the professional literature. The reason for this seems obvious, these are acts which are designed to appear plausible. The key to understanding false allegations lies in determining how the false allegation “helps” the claimant manipulate, control or recoup. Therefore, it is the context in which the allegation occurs that provides the framework for understanding the dynamics of the case. It is also important to remember that many of the defense mechanisms used in false allegations may also be found in genuine rapes. A final word of caution: even those who are emotionally prone to make a false allegation can be raped. Basic principles of police professionalism require that officers who investigate rapes remain objective and compassionate, otherwise the veracity of an allegation may never be known.
After reading the study, I shared it with CMSgt. John Stewart (USAF Ret.), father of Army Sgt. 1st Class Kelly A. Stewart, the Green Beret whose life and wrongful prosecution is chronicled in my book, Three Days In August. In turn, Chief Stewart read it and replied with several worthwhile observations about how this report’s findings tie to the case of his son who was prosecuted on false rape and kidnapping allegations.
Regarding portions of the report that appear on pages 68 and beyond, he wrote several worthwhile comments. They appear below after the study points which appear in bold below:
“At the point in a rape investigation when the allegation itself becomes suspect, efforts should focus on the validity of the claim.” — A review of steps taken by the German police investigators and by the Army’s investigators clearly indicate total failure to establish validity of the victims claim. Despite statements by friends, co-workers and an Army appointed counselor to the victim indicating repeated perjury during the trial and during pre-trial statements, no action was taken to further investigate the possibility the “victim” had, indeed, been assaulted. Particularly in light of the facts that there were no witnesses, a clear ability to telephone for help or escape the room after the assault, the fact the “victim” provided her telephone number to the accused after-the-fact to establish further relationships, the fact the “victim” told her best friend after the rendezvous that she had “finally met her man,” etc., etc.
“Variables frequently associated with reports of false allegations include…the complaint is not timely…” — It was nearly three months before the “victim” filed the charges.
“Law enforcement authorities correctly place a high priority on physical evidence which supports an allegation.” — There was no physical evidence, whatsoever, that any assault took place. No signs of a struggle, no sounds of distress heard in neighboring rooms by other military personnel, no evidence of physical injury during an unrelated physician’s visit in the next few days despite statements of the victim she had been bitten and bruised, and there was a complete absence of confirming serological evidence.
“In general, this information suggests that the victim has experienced numerous personal problems in her life and that her ability to cope is impaired…Victim has history of mental or emotional problems…” — Despite information provided to investigators regarding the probability the “victim” had been institutionalized for possible mental health issues, this information could not be introduced into the trial phase due to the German government’s refusal to release medical records of the “victim”. This was an extremely key issue to proving innocence of the accused and fell completely by the wayside leading to a conviction without merit.
“False allegations of rape are frequently not recognized as such by investigators and are almost totally neglected…The key to understanding false allegation lies in determining how the false allegation ‘helps’ the claimant manipulate, control or recoup.” — In the instance of this accusation and trial findings, there was complete negligence on the part of American and German investigators.
After reading Chief Stewart’s words above, you might think they are merely those of a father trying to save his son. I know I did, and I was wrong.
Find out why by reading Three Days In August, a book based on my thorough review of the Record of Trial, extensive interviews with the people involved and the hard-hitting kind of investigative reporting upon which I’ve staked my reputation. Order a copy of Three Days In August today!
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