Monday, October 28, 2013

Sexual Assault At Coast Guard Academy, The Webster Smith Case Chap 11


Webster Smith’s faith in American Justice has been shattered. He is simply devastated. The patience of his family has been tested to the limit. His mother and father are coping with serious health related challenges brought on by the stress of this ordeal.
This has been the most serious family crisis that Cleon and Belinda Smith have had to endure. The demands of daily work, uncertainty concerning the future of their son and his little infant daughter due to the consequences of having to register as a sex offender in Texas, the family has put enormous pressure. The family’s support network and the friends of Webster Smith have all been stressed to the limit. This has affected their physical and mental health. A simple diet, rest, and exercise have had only minor success in relieving their symptoms.
The simple life style that Belinda and Cleon knew growing up is not available to Webster Smith and his wife and child. Something as simple as a birthday party for their daughter is not available to them. Webster would not be able to attend a party of his daughter and a few of her close friends because of the restrictions imposed by the Texas sex offender law.
Captain Doug Wisniewski, the Commandant of Cadets, graduated from the Academy with the last all-male class. He was transferred to a position at Coast Guard Headquarters in Washington, D.C. and  was replaced by the first woman to hold the post, Captain Judith Keene, who graduated in the second class to accept women.
Captain Judith Keene, the first female Commandant of Cadets  pledged a tough stance against campus sexual violence in July 2006 following the court-martial in which cadets testified that such issues were not taken seriously. (Note 15)
Such attacks are "just reprehensible and I do not want to graduate a cadet into the Coast Guard as a junior officer who is a perpetrator of sexual assault," said Captain Keene.
The Coast Guard Academy will have the first woman superintendent of a military service academy at the helm of the U.S. C. G. A. when classes convene in the summer of 2011. The commandant of the Coast Guard, Admiral  Robert Papp, has selected Rear Adm. Sandra L. Stosz, Coast Guard director of reserve and leadership, for the superintendent position. Rear Admiral Stosz graduated from CGA  in 1982 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Government. She is the first female graduate of Coast Guard Academy to achieve flag rank. Stosz has never married. She states that her Coast Guard career is her lifetime adventure.
No good deed goes unpunished, it had been said. Webster Smith was a keeper of secrets, other peoples' secrets. In the end all the secrets came to light. When they did, there was betrayal of trust and tragedy for all parties to the secrets. Webster Smith kept the secret of KN's pregnancy and abortion during their senior year at the Academy. When he divulged her secret, KN set in motion events that led to his court-martial.
He kept the secret of SR's illicit consensual sex with an enlisted man in Virginia during summer training. That secret led to his conviction.
A  study by the Government Accountability Office (GAO)  2008 after a series of revelations about sexual misconduct at U.S. military academies, found that  the Coast Guard is not required to report to Congress any measures taken  to stem the tide of sexual assault and harassment cases the Coast Guard Academy.

The GAO noted the Coast Guard Academy is the only U.S. military academy not required to report to Congress on sexual-misconduct cases.
According to the GAO Report, from 2003 to 2006 there were NO sexual-harassment complaints at the Coast Guard Academy, but there were 12 incidents of sexual assault reported to the Coast Guard Investigative Service, with one incident in 2003, one in 2004, “NONE” in 2005 and 10 in 2006.

The 10 incidents reported in 2006 would appear to have occurred after the Webster Smith court-martial. Webster Smith was removed from Chase Hall in 2005. Who was doing all of the sexual assaulting in 2006? Why were none of these people brought to justice? They could have been tried along with Webster Smith.

There is something wrong with this picture. The GAO report suggests that CGA’s figures may not tell the full story.

This GAO Report could have been used at the Webster Smith trial. At the very least, it could have been impeachment evidence against Doug Wisniewski, the Commandant of Cadets. He testified concerning an atmosphere of fear among the female cadets because of a sexual predator in Chase Hall.
How could that be? If there were NO reported incidents of sexual assault in 2005, from whence cometh the atmosphere of fear? If there had been any incidents of sexual assault,, surely they would have been reported, because CAPT Wisniewski was in charge of reporting them.

This same GAO Report could have been used to cross-examine every female who testified against Webster Smith. If any incident had occurred, why did they not report it? Did they forget? Was their memory better at the time of the alleged incident, or later at the court-martial?

Webster Smith was court-martialed in 2006. When was he supposed to have committed these offenses? The Investigation into his conduct began in 2005.
The GAO report suggests that CGA’s figures may not tell the full story. That is putting it mildly and politely.

Thirteen female cadets and 11 males at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy (CGA) reported anonymously in an April 2008 survey that they experienced “unwanted sexual contact,” ranging from touching to forced sexual acts, during the 2007-08 school year.

More than three-quarters said that alcohol or drugs were involved and that the offender was a fellow cadet.
None of the women sought professional help and only 7 percent discussed the incident with authorities. Not enough of the male respondents answered follow-up questions to provide data, according to the Defense Department survey.
”The fact that we have cadets who are being predators on cadets bothers me because I'm committed to giving cadets a safe living and working environment,” said Capt. John Fitzgerald, the new Commandant of Cadets.

“I'm not going to rest until the day I leave here, working to eradicate that.”
The last survey of cadets, done by CGA in October 2006, found that there were 23 incidents of sexual assault involving 14 women and nine men. Cadet focus groups revealed acceptance, and even encouragement, of alcohol use.
A few months before that survey was taken, senior cadet Webster Smith was court-martialed on charges of sexual assault, among other things.

The Defense Department conducts a congressionally mandated “service academy gender relations survey” every two years at the West Point, Annapolis and the U.S. Air Force Academy. CGA, which falls under the Department of Homeland Security, voluntarily participated last year instead of doing its own survey of cadets.
Participating is a way to make CGA more transparent and to give Coast Guard officials an unbiased look at the state of gender relations at the school, Fitzgerald said.
Cadets are told about the survey at a meeting and can choose whether or not to complete it.
It is difficult to draw comparisons between past CGA surveys and the DOD version because the surveys use different terminology, like “sexual assault” versus “unwanted sexual contact,” and ask about different timeframes, such as a cadet's entire time at the academy versus one school year.

At the DOD academies, 9 percent of women and 1 percent of men reported experiencing some form of unwanted sexual contact last year, while 52 percent of women and 11 percent of men said they were sexually harassed.
At CGA, 44 percent of women and 14 percent of men reported being sexually harassed. More than three-quarters said the offender was a fellow cadet.

”We can't have sexual harassment here, because you can't be a leader and have people look at you in two different lights,” Fitzgerald said. “We have to get to a point where if that happens, another cadet will turn around and say, 'Stop. You are a Coast Guard cadet who will be a Coast Guard officer and you're supposed to be the epitome of a leader and a professional and you can't behave in this manner.' “ (Note 21)

Is John Fitzgerald casted from the same mold as Doug Wisniewski? Will he court-martial another cadet?

The Webster Smith Case produced a mountain of paper work. A Task Force Report was generated, and a Commandant Instruction 1754.10C (The Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Program) was promulgated. The Report, entitled U. S. Coast Guard Academy Comprehensive Climate and Culture Optimization Review Effort, is a commendable snapshot of the Coast Guard Academy culture. The entire 276 page Report can be found at
U. S. Coast Guard COMMANDANT INSTRUCTION 1754.10C  (The Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Program) has been promulgated. The purpose of the program is to establish policy and prescribe procedures for the Coast Guard Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Program (SAPRP). The ultimate purpose of this program is to build a culture of prevention, sensitive response and accountability in keeping with the Coast Guard’s values of honor, respect, and devotion to duty.

It appears that the message that the court-martial of Webster Smith was supposed to send was not received "loud and clear" by the intended parties. Or perhaps the cadets just cannot help themselves. They continue doing what normal, healthy, red-blooded Americans have been doing since the dawn of time.

Could it be that the fault is not with the cadets but with the Administration? If you continue to place these attractive physical specimens in close proximity with each other, and force them to come together as a team, can you really expect them to act any differently? One definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.

Civilian colleges do not appear to have the same problems, at least, not to the same degree. At civilian colleges students can inhabit the same physical environment and never really interact. They can remain individuals without developing a group identity. They do not live together, even in a dormitory. No one forces them to take group responsibility for the acts of any individual.

Things are different at a military academy. Strangers are forced to become intimately aware of each other and to work together for a common goal. They bond and they develop a group identity. When one catches a cold, they all sneeze. They begin to take responsibility for each other; they become like family. A little touchy-feely is inevitable.

The most logical solution is to separate the genders. Put them on different floors or in different buildings. It might even be necessary to put them at separate training facilities. That is the only way to eliminate any possibility of unwanted touching. However, eventually they will have to come together for training and for work. That is when the temptations and the infatuations will begin. One person's unwanted sexual contact (sexual assault) can be  another person's sexual fantasy. You never know until after the fact.
When Alexander Hamilton organized the Revenue Cutter Service in 1790 it was established in the Department of the Treasury. Later it became known as the Coast Guard. In 1966 it was placed in the Department of Transportation. Today it is the nucleus of the Department of Homeland Security. Webster Smith's case is currently being reviewed for clemency by the Secretary of the Department of Home Land Security, Janet Napolitano.
Webster Smith would have made an excellent military officer. It is Webster Smith and people like him that I want on the wall as our last line of defense for our American way of life protecting us from the great unwashed horde that is coming. Secretary Napolitano who do you want on that wall? Surely not people like former Congressman Christopher Shays, who has never worn the uniform of any branch of the American armed forces. Deferments and conscientious objections will not protect us when the enemy is at the gate. So, I beg you to grant clemency to Webster Smith and recommend a presidential pardon for this abused son of American patriotism.













  1. Rainey, Richard; AP article, January 21, 2006. Coast Guard Academy Investigating Male Cadet for Sexual Misconduct.
  2. Rainey, Richard; AP article, February 17, 2006. Coast Guard Cadet Charged With Rape.
  3. Rainey, Richard; AP article, February 25, 2006. Cadet Kicked Out Instead of Prosecuted.
  4. Rainey, Richard; AP article, March 21, 2006.  Coast Guard Cadet’s Rape Hearing Begins.
  5. Kime, Patricia, Navy Times, Mar. 27, 2006.Academy Takes Heat Over Sex-Assault Cases.

  1. Rainey, Richard; AP article, April 13, 2006. Coast Guard Cadet to be Court-Martialed.

  1. Rainey, Richard; AP article, June 20, 2006. Coast Guard Cadet's Accuser Testifies.
  2. Rainey, Richard; AP article, June 22, 2006. New Witness Testifies in Cadet Rape Trial.
  3. Rainey, Richard; AP article, June 26, 2006. Women Describe A Life Of Drinking, Partying And Sexual Favors. Trial Shows Another Coast Guard Academy.
  4. Rainey, Richard; AP article, June 26, 2006. The Accused Cadet Takes The Witness Stand.
  5. Rainey, Richard; AP article, June 27, 2006. Deliberations Start in Cadet's Rape Trial.
  6. Apuzzo, Matt; AP article, July 3, 2006. After The Trial, A Time To Rethink Sexual Harassment Training.
  7. New York Times editorial, July 1, 2006. Scandal At The Coast Guard Academy.
  8. Manning, Stephen; AP article, July 7, 2006. Academies See Spike In Sexual Offenses.
  9. Apuzzo, Matt; AP article, July 12, 2006. Coast Guard Academy Vows to Fight Attacks.
  10. Apuzzo, Matt; AP article, February 22, 2006.  Coast Guard Academy to Require Females on Sex Assault Cases.
  11. CBS/AP News Article, New Haven, CT. December 18, 2006, Congressman Christopher Shays Calls For Investigation Of Sexual Assaults In The Military. CONGRESS TO INVESTIGATE SEX ASSAULTS IN MILITARY.
  12. Smith, M. J., The Day, February 20, 2008, The Bottom Line On The Webster Smith Court-martial.
  13. Howard, Lee, The Day, Dec. 28, 2010, Supreme Court Won’t Hear Appeal In Conviction Of Former CGA Cadet. 
  14.  Ogletree Jr., Charles J; The Presumption of Guilt: The Arrest of Henry Louis Gates Jr. and Race, Class, and Crime in America, Palgrave and Macmillan.
  15. Grogan, Jennifer, The Day, CGA official: Inappropriate Sexual Behavior Has No Place at Coast Guard Academy, Jan. 9,2009.




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