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Tim Bilecki

The Dangers of Not Conducting an Investigation

There is a lot of pressure on the military right now to assume that those who claim sexual assault are telling the truth and to investigate thoroughly. One has to wonder why there isn’t any pressure on the media to meet allegations of sexual assault with skepticism and investigate thoroughly before reporting the allegations are true.

A recent report tells the story of Marine 2nd Lieutenant Elle Helmer. She claims that in 2006 after a night of drinking on St. Patrick’s Day she was ordered to go to the office of a Major. She says the Major kissed her and when she tried to flee, he grabbed her arm and pulled her hard enough that her head hit his desk and she passed out. Helmer goes onto claim that she later woke up bleeding outside her office and she believed she was raped. Her allegations continue by claiming that the matter was not investigated and that she was hounded out of the service.

Read it for yourself. It sounds damning. Did command and investigators drop the ball? Absolutely they did by discouraging an investigation. Does that mean she was raped? No. It’s possible she had been drinking enough to not remember events. It’s possible she feared misconduct charges of her own and claimed rape. It’s possible that she just blacked out and hit her head. There should have been a full investigation. It was wrong not to conduct one. It’s also wrong to assume we know the truth in the absence of one.

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