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Thursday, July 13, 2006

How many football players does it take to rape girl?



How many big burly football players does it take to rape a dainty distance runner? The answer is THREE. TWO to watch, and ONE to pile-on.

This is a true story, and it has absolutely nothing to do with Webster Smith; except, of course, it demonstrates most vividly that the military justice apparatus at the Coast Guard Academy under Captain Doug Wisniewski was running on two separate and very unequal tracks. White rapists were allowed to resign, and their victims were harassed out of the Academy; whereas, innocent Black cadets were framed, prosecuted, and sent to jail on perjured testimony. The accusers received plush assignments and other rewards for having done the dirty deed.

Doug Wisniewski, you can run, but you can't hide. Your sins will find you out. Heaven help us if someone of your ilk believes that you are the stuff of which admirals are made.

One night a dainty little distance runner, a delicate flower from the Garden State, was studying with her classmate in his room when without warning she was pounced on and savagely raped by three beefy bullies. Only one actually did the dirty deed, but the other two vicarious varmints are equally culpable. They not only failed to assist this damsel in distress, but they refused to raise a hue and cry for help. And against every human instinct for compassion, when questioned later, they lied about the incident. They were so distracted in their little 12 foot by 12 foot room that they were totally unaware that this delicate little flower had been deflowered.

The big bad burly football player who actually did the dirty deed, let's call him Mister Big, or MB for short. He was so brazen as to actually threaten the delicate flower and her two roommates with physical violence if they breathed a word about what he had done. The poor little innocent roommates of the delicate flower were so stressed that they were driven to take prescription medication. They even had to be referred for mental health counseling to cope with the somatic manifestations of the stress brought on by MB's threat.

Our delicate flower received no charity from her fellow cadets. She became a pariah. She was branded and taunted by some of the other athletes. She had to face daily taunts of "What's the matter; don't you like rough sex?" Can you imagine such treatment from the cream of the crop? She was ridiculed and branded a slot, harlot, loose woman, and not only by the other cadets. She was dragged out of bed one night about midnight in only her pajamas, and she was hauled before a CPO and a LT and called a bunch of dirty names. One can only imagine that this is how we treat victims of sexual assault these days. Also, Doug Wisniewski did not call it rape; nor did he call it sexual assault. He called it non-consensual sexual activity. That way, he would not have to court-martial anyone. Anyone White, that is. You see, court-martials are reserved for the Black cadets. That is the kind of justice Doug Wisniewski believed in.

The Academy has replaced Doug Wisniewski with a female Commandant of Cadets. Also, they want to get female officers involved in the rape investigation and counseling process as early as possible. Doug was replaced by Judy. Doug said this and now Judy agrees that there is an atmosphere of fear and intimidation at the Academy, and that some female cadets are hesitant to come forward with assault allegations.

Well, for once, Doug has said something that I agree with. But, the big question is, who are they afraid of? From what happened to our delicate flower after her rape, it is clearly obvious that they are afraid of the Academy staff officers. This is incredible. Little did the news media realize when Doug Wisniewski said that there was an atmosphere of fear and intimidation at the Academy, that the female cadets were afraid of the officers. They were not afraid of Webster Smith. They were afraid of Doug Wisniewski and his staff officers. They were so afraid that they were willing to be used to court-martial Webster Smith, after MB had been allowed to slip away with nary a slap on the wrist.

So, what did they do to our delicate flower? They assigned a female staff officer to interview her. The interview turned into an interrogation. The investigation became an inquisition. The female staff officer inferred that the delicate flower was responsible for her own rape. She, as much as, accused her of provoking the incident. When the interview became a custodial interrogation, the delicate flower was not provided with legal counsel; nor was she given any Article 31 warnings. She was forced to make a statement, which she did not write. She signed a statement that the female staff officer had written and she was not provided with a copy of the statement. That statement went straight to Doug Wisniewski, and he used it in an Article 15 NJP proceeding to expel a first class cadet two weeks before he was to graduate in the Class of 2006.

Can you imagine that? The only senior cadet who was showing any trained initiative and leadership, who was actually doing Doug Wisniewski's job for him, was charged with fraternization and expelled two weeks before graduation. The system is on its head. It has turned upside down. Finally, the inmates are in charge of the asylum.

What happened to our delicate flower the night of the rape? She was treated at a medical facility. She was taken off base, of course. We must always leave room for plausible deniability. Yes, she received expert civilian medical care. The evidence of the rape was sent to the Connecticut Crime Laboratory. The lab report went to the New London PD. Doug Wisniewski sent a couple of his boys over when the Chief of Police was not in, and they confiscated the forensic evidence and took it back to the Academy. Perhaps, they screamed federal supremacy or something and walked out with the evidence.

What did Doug Wisniewski do with the forensic evidence? Heaven only knows. It certainly was not used to make an air-tight case against MB. This would have been a slam-dunk case to prosecute. But, no, Doug Wisniewski had Webster Smith in isolation waiting for a court-martial with only rumors and lies as evidence. So, in December 2005 Doug takes MB to a Captain's Mast NJP and lets him resign from the Academy. He probably thinks he is home free, but he is not.

Now, our delicate flower is left in the hot house. All of the other female cadets saw what the Administration was doing to our delicate flower trying to get her to resign. They became afraid and intimidated. Female cadets from freshmen to senior cadets were intimidated. They were more than happy to say or do anything that Doug Wisniewski and the lieutenants asked of them. They were more than happy to caucus and implicate Webster Smith.

Morale was in the toilet. Esprit de Corps had gone out the window. Where ever Doug wanted to lead, they were willing to follow, just don't get on their case. This is the atmosphere that is created when you single out some one for special treatment, when justice is not administered fairly and equally. All the cadets are suspicious of each other. And they are all afraid of the Administration. The women are afraid to report incidents of any nature for fear of being forced to resign. The men are afraid that innocent incidental contact with a female cadet will lead to charges, false statements, and possible court-martial. That is the legacy of Doug Wisniewski. Congratulations, Doug. You done good.

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3 Comments:

Blogger D.Margeaux Boyd said...

Hi,
Please excuse my rambling. I think it's fascinating what you're doing. I hope more former cadets post. Who knows what insane things you wittnessed and experienced at Chase Hell.

A little about myself...I am a black female ex-cadet who chose to walk away from Chase Hall in the mid-late 90's. I'm not that much older than Smith as I have younger sisters his age. I am now the mother of an extremely handsome toddler. With a son, this case hits home even more. The only other person I've discussed this case with was another friend of mine, who chose to stay on and graduate. Needless to say, even though I didn't graduate, I have an interesting perspective (non-legal, more social).
I read everything I possibly could about this case and only today found your blog. Here comes my laundry list of points....boy did Ms. Ringle hate those....

Point of view as a fmr. cadet.

No, from reading the information in the papers, the case seemed thin. Why try this case and waste time and money? Could it be to save careers and get promotions at the expense of others? It happens. It seemed that there had been national pressure to start treating rape investigations as criminal investigations and not some Leave it to Beaver Wardroom prank. Someone had to be made an example of. Smith was easily casted as the villian. Lascivious, sociopatihic, cad? (at least from my pov)....You bet. Rapist? I don't know....in the narrow elitist minds, his actions and "dating" patterns fit the bill of the some (not ALL) cadre's stereotypical fears of the "typical black thug criminal who are chasing after white women."
Could reg row princess have been humiliated for carrying a black baby? What if mummy and daddy found out? Better cry rape and justify the abortion. Just because you're a cadet, dosen't make you a human by any definition. Yes, possibly, not 100% sure.
I was glad, up until now rape allegations seemed to be taking on the nature of crim. investigations, rather than blaming the woman and sending everyone packing. This was a crappy case to choose.
You are abso. right in your posts about countless other rape cases, with physical evidence never going to trial with the alleged perps being allowed to quietly resign. I can think of at least 2 as if it were yesterday when I attended. I can also think of Cases where women screamed rape to save their hides when caught in the act. (In fact, my reluctant involvement in such a case was one of the final reasons why I decided to call it a day.)
From my experience, stuff rolled downhill. The rules were applied at whim to suit the purposes of whomever was incharge at the time. Discrimination against minorities was almost never overt. Exception, verbal stereotypes. A black male cadet could get a class 1 and a honor board hearing for a water gun prank in the mid 90's. I find it hard to believe that things had changed all that much. What was he thinking? Nevermind.
I certainly didn't have all the time on my hands to party like it's 1999? What the h#$% going on at CGA? I'm curious to know, even though he was a firstie granted, where was the self-policing from the other black cadets. Behavior like this would have been cause for alarm. Since there were so few of us, we looked out for eachother, even if we didn't really like our fellows. This nice little informal system was there years ago. Just curious about this.
As a parent of a little boy...
I have little doubt that Smith's parents "raised him right." I'm sure they warned him of potential situations like this. Sometimes, children make many outrageous mistakes. I wish that people in the black community and in the media would lay off. Separating oneself or relatives from the academy, let alone under these circumstances, is a mind job. The family will need time to grieve and deprogram. (blackamericaweb.com interview disregarded. I'd be p.oed too under the circumstances. I doubt I would have handeled the trial with as much graciousness and class. True charges or not, the street language would have re-appeared, especially towards the commandant and accusers.) I raise my son to love your neighbor as yourself and to fall in love with whomever God sends to you, regardless of "race." Although I hope he would display more character, morals, and common sense than Smith and his accusers, I would be afraid to send him off to CGA at age 18 under these circumstances. It seems like the targeting has now worsened as a result of the trial. Things may get worse before they get better. Like it or not, just treatment at the hands of the officer corps or not, Smith brought this on himself and now made other black cadets lives more difficult. Yes, forgive me, I am angry at him for not knowing what they're capable of and most importantly, for being an out of control hormonal twit. Forget about when acting as wild as he was. Don't go where you eat!
All this having been said, I've wittenssed the UCMJ process as I live in a military community as a spouse. UCMJ is even less just than the civilian system. It seems like the Smith verdict said "We can't prove you're guilty of rape, so we're going to convict you of something for getting this far." Especially with these NASTY charges, this probably wouldn't have gone to trial in the civilian world. If he was railroaded, TOTALLY POSSIBLE, I hope those in the legal community keep the pressure on those responsible for this legal mess. Who knows which cadet could be next for something even less severe.
Oh yes, I think one of the cadets leaked this investigation to the press, not necessairly the Commandant.
That's it. You'll all can rip my opinions. Won't be worse than the public evisceration Smith recieved.
Thanks, this blog is cool. Please forgive my spelling, format, slang and grammar.
D.M.Boyd

6:34 PM  
Blogger ichbinalj said...

THE LAMENTATIONS OF A SLUT.
By Suzanne Fields
Thursday, July 27, 2006

A man of my acquaintance, he of a certain age, waxes nostalgic about the sexual style of his youth. In his carefree bachelor days, nothing ignited his imagination like the "allure of the slut." Loose women have always tempted men. Think Ava Gardner in "The Sun Also Rises," or Lee Remick in "Anatomy of a Murder."

For decades, movie characters have been the standard girls measure themselves by. But as the sexual revolution begot working rights for women, the measurements changed. Sexual rites of passage changed, too. Years ago, at one of my high-school class reunions, a woman in our class accepted the prize for being the youngest grandmother: "I never thought I'd win a prize for getting knocked up in high school." But there's nothing funny, as we've learned to our sorrow and the society's financial pain, about teenage pregnancy. The poor, as always, suffer most when such mores change.

In The Washington Post, a fashion writer makes fun of young women who prefer not to expose an excess of flesh at the beach or pool, and mocks their modesty as an excess of religious faith. In the nation's capital, where most metaphors are political, "WholesomeWear" bathing suits with skirts or culottes are described as the "ultimate coverup." The appeal to virtue is so (early) 20th century.

Fair enough. Everyone's entitled to his or her opinion, but it seems to me that certain cover-ups are a mercy, along with the newfound concern for obesity. The clothes that many women wear are not exactly what Irwin Shaw had in mind with his wonderful short story about "the girls in their summer dresses." Fashion reflects the times, and modesty and femininity are anachronisms in a world in which "slut" is no longer a slur. The word was popularized by gangsta rappers, linking it with "ho" and other denigrating descriptions of women. The rappers must now find another word. The New York Times reports that it has become a term of endearment between women friends, a "fun word" for ladies who lunch. These are the young women who read "The Vagina Monologues" to each other, reveling in the celebration of their body parts.

But despite what bloggers call "the taming of the slut," all does not sound sound in Slursville. Leora Tanenbaum, author of a book called "Slut! Growing Up Female With a Bad Reputation," finds that the word, popular as it may be in certain lunching parties, still inflicts pain and humiliation. She interviewed more than a hundred women between the ages of 14 and 66 and tells how "slut" acts as a self-fulfilling prophecy because young women think they're expected to live up to the label. Maybe they are.

Teenage girls, like teenage boys, lie a lot about sex. Their bodies, subject to swift hormonal changes, are further manipulated by pop cultural expectations not always of their own making. Tom Wolfe drives this notion home in his novel, "I Am Charlotte Simmons," about promiscuity on the college campus. He tells of a sad conversation he overheard in a campus lounge:

" . . . a boy's voice was saying, 'What are you talking about? How could I? We've known each other since before Choate! It would be incest!' And then I heard the girl say, 'Please, come on. I can't stand the thought of having to do it with somebody I hardly know and can't trust.' It turned out that she was beseeching him, her old Platonic friend of years' standing, to please relieve her of her virginity, deflower her. That way she could honestly maintain the proper social stance as an experienced young woman in college."

Concludes Tom Wolfe: "There was a time when the worst . . . slut . . . for want of a better term . . . maintained a virginal and chaste facade. Today, the most virginal and chaste undergraduate wants to create a facade of sexual experience."

Sexually active teenage girls nevertheless frequently tell interviewers how they wish they had waited until they were older. In a survey conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation in 2003, more than six in 10 express that sentiment. No matter how quickly our society pushes young women to grow up, a sped up sexual clock is rarely accompanied by the brakes of self-interest. In a media-saturated culture, appeals to emotion must precede good sense. As the space between romantic innocence and sluttish experience narrows, it's the young who suffer the pangs of rue. Their creative fantasies as well as the range of complex pleasures are haunted with regret and tinged with remorse. The allure of the slut becomes loss and lamentation. The young women are entitled to better.

Copyright © 2006 Salem Web Network. All Rights Reserved.

12:24 PM  
Blogger ichbinalj said...

DO THE RIGHT THING for THE RIGHT REASON.
Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King would be proud. Spike Lee should feel proud. America has learned from them. Doctor King's non-violent civil rights movement became the preferred model for others fighting for their rights in America. The Homosexual Rights movement fighting for a right to same sex marriage has patterned their movement on the Civil Rights Movement. The Women's Rights Movement borrowed their tactics from Doctor King. Even the children of illegal aliens have declared a right to equal "entitlements" asserting their intention to engage in mass protests and non-violent direct action. All have adopted the methods used by Doctor King, a great American social engineer. Fortunately none of them will have to face police dogs, high pressure fire hoses, or angry white mobs. They will not have to fill the jail cells with Black children looking for their rightful place in American society. All they have to do is adopt the catchy slogans of director Spike Lee in his groundbreaking movie entitled "Do The Right Thing".


'We Are Doing The Right Thing'
Academy's first female Commandant of Cadets is confident of ability to set the proper course
By Richard Rainey

Published on 8/6/2006
Capt. Judith Keene has deep roots in the Coast Guard here, having graduated from the academy and later commanded Coast Guard Station New London.

'Everything about the culture defied the presence of women at that time, really everything. And so it could become very isolating.'
Director of Admissions Capt. Susan Bibeau

Members of the United States Coast Guard Academy class of 2008 are formally accepted into the Corps of Cadets during a ceremony Wed. Aug. 18, 2004 on the academy's Washington Parade Grounds.

THE chance to flout a gender barrier did not call a young Judith Keene to attend the U.S. Coast Guard Academy 29 years ago. Nor did it spur on her long and varied career in uniform.
Nonetheless, she did break a barrier this summer when she became the first woman to serve as the academy's commandant of cadets.

Now a captain, Keene is moving into her campus office during a pivotal time in the academy's 130-year history. On the eve of the 30th anniversary of women cadets first lining up for drills and attending classes with men, the academy is taking stock after the turmoil left by the first general court-martial of a cadet. Webster M. Smith, 23, of Houston, was convicted in June of extorting a female classmate for sexual favors.

Smith's trial left an aftershock rippling through the cadet corps, according to cadets and academy officials. Testimony and interviews with those involved revealed an underlying sense that female cadets felt either fearful about reporting incidents of sexual assault or hopeless that anything would be done if they did.

Assuaging those fears and enacting positive changes are two missions at the top of Keene's list.

“Bad things have happened here, but we are addressing them,” she said. “We are going to deal with them, and we are doing the right thing.”

Keene, who graduated in 1981, credited the women of the class before her with paving the way for a generation of female officers in the Coast Guard.

“We really owe them a lot,” she said.

The Class of 1980 included the first 14 women to graduate from the academy. The changes they brought to the cadet culture, changes Keene said she took for granted as a student only a year later, were significant for their ordinariness: a beautician in the campus barbershop who knew how to cut women's hair; uniform trousers made for women; nascent athletic teams, stretching from a champion women's sailing team to an ill-advised gymnastics team (only one woman in the original class had any background in the sport).

By graduation, that first class had lost 24 of the 38 women who donned uniforms in the summer of 1976. The women who stayed endured persecution in both harsh and subtle forms, said Capt. Susan Bibeau, a member of that class who is now the academy's director of admissions.

“Everything about the culture defied the presence of women at that time, really everything,” she said. “And so it could become very isolating.”

Interviews with former cadets and news reports from that time described misogyny among the cadets sometimes manifested in obscene language and ostracism. Women said they did not band together for fear of being accused of collusion.

“We did realize – in my case, two weeks into it – we were up against a different challenge, one we hadn't thought of,” Bibeau continued. “We realized that we were actually pioneering. ... and I think most had to decide, are we going to take on that baggage or not?”

The women who did stick it out at the academy led the way for others to come.

“Over the years, there was almost like a shift even then. There were women in every class, and everything seemed normal,” said Jean Wilczynski of Old Lyme, who graduated from the academy in 1983. “And even though there were still people who felt women shouldn't be there, it was very clear we were there.”

Now women equal men at the academy in achievement and in the chain of command, and some women have ascended to elite positions in the cadet corps. Last semester's regimental commander – the highest militarily ranked cadet – was a woman.

“Here at the Coast Guard Academy we do a really good job at keeping everything level,” said Cadet DeCarol Davis, president of the junior class, in a recent interview.

Raw data from a survey by academy officials in August 2005 revealed that nearly half the senior female cadets did not know they could report a sexual assault confidentially to a counselor.

Ten women at the academy reported 18 incidents of sexual assault in the survey, entitled the “Human Relations Climate Survey of Cadets.” Of those women, five thought the formal procedures offered by the academy helped them deal with the incidents.

Smith or his accusers might have been involved in some of the complaints, said an academy spokesman. A team of Pentagon analysts from the Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute, which plans to look at the data later this month, should be able to make that determination.

In Smith's trial, five current or former female cadets testified that the senior cadet and former football player had inappropriately touched them. One woman, his former girlfriend, accused him of rape. Four of the women testified they had been drinking with Smith during the alleged incidents.

After eight days in the makeshift courtroom at the academy, Smith was convicted of extortion, sodomy and indecent assault in connection with only one of his accusers. The rape charge was dropped. He is now serving a six-month sentence in a Navy brig while awaiting an appeal.

On June 28, during Smith's sentencing, Capt. Douglas J. Wisniewski testified in writing that Smith's actions sent “fear and suspicion” through the corps of cadets. Wisniewski, now stationed at Coast Guard headquarters in Washington, D.C., was Keene's predecessor.

“Female cadets expressed their opinions that reporting sexual misconduct is not worth the personal toll on their lives,” Wisniewski wrote.

Alcohol consumption and carousing among 18- to 22-year-olds is nothing beyond the scope of life on most college campuses, said Bibeau, who returned to the school to head the admissions department in August 2001.

But the academy is a military institution funded by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, which is ultimately funded by taxpayer dollars. The school holds itself to a higher standard, she said.

The percentage of female cadets in the student body has hovered between 28 percent and 32 percent since 1999. It is the highest percentage of its kind among the nation's four military academies.

However, the incoming freshman class – the Class of 2010 – is 23 percent female. While reasons for the decline are only speculation at this point, Bibeau surmised that it could be a combination of an effort by the other academies to attract more women and the blow to the school's reputation landed by Smith's court-martial. She pointed out that she had received very few inquiries about the trial from prospective students.

Sitting at the long table in her office during a mid-July interview, Keene, 46, said she felt “energized” by her new wards, the 980-odd cadets who will march through the academy's gates in mid-August.

Keene's curriculum vitae appears tailor-made to help guide the prestigious academy as it assesses its policies. Tucked among her plans is what she hopes will clear the apparent confusion among women students about reporting sexual harassment or assault.

“We're going to be placing strict emphasis on our core values: honor, respect and devotion to duty,” she said.

Keene entered the academy in 1977. A tall, blonde 17-year-old from Florida who grew up in a strict household, she fell in love with the lifesaving mission of the Coast Guard. She was also in love with her boyfriend at the time, she said, who spurred her application to the school through his own desire to attend.

“That was our plan, we were going to go together,” she said.

She got in. He, however, did not. But by that point, Keene said, she knew what to expect from the smallest of the nation's four military academies.

“I knew it was going to be hard,” she said. “You can't look through the Coast Guard Academy yearbook without getting a sense of some of the challenges you're going to have to face.”

After graduation, she served on various ships and in a diverse array of commands. She earned her master's degree in business administration from the University of Hawaii. She is familiar with New London, having commanded the Coast Guard Station here from 1991 to 1994. And she knows the challenges women face in uniform; she served as the gender policy adviser to the commandant of the Coast Guard for two years.

The new commandant of cadets ascribes to what she called “the broken window theory.” It is a philosophy that for more than two decades has governed many city police departments. It postulates that a deteriorated environment leads to disorder among its inhabitants.

With that in mind, Keene said, she will place renewed emphasis on the “basics” among the cadets – from proper attire to clean bunks and decorum at the dinner table.

“If you enforce just the basic bottom line rules and regulations, and you do it constantly and consistently, it's a lot easier to enforce the larger things,” she said.

To handle those larger things, especially reports of sexual assault and harassment at the school, Keene said she has planned roundtable discussions and focus groups for cadets.

Keene also said she will return direct command of the cadets to commissioned lieutenants to ramp up supervision. For the past four years, the academy implemented a leadership strategy in which upperclassmen were the first line of discipline for students.

Beyond the changes, Keene said she sensed optimism among the returning cadets.

“They are enthusiastic, and they are very proud of what they have individually and collectively accomplished,” she said. “And I think they are looking ahead as well.”

2:18 PM  

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