- Posted October 19, 2009 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
What if veterans had a stronger voice?
open letter to president Obama
Dear President Obama,
I am writing you because there is a huge problem facing our military and the VA that has remained unchanged for the last 43 years. This problem could be addressed with a simple set of orders from the commander in chief. I am the victim of military sexual trauma. The military continues to sweep these crimes under the table and victims are still being harassed for reporting it. My case is well documented and I am fortunate that I have lawyers and a forensic psychiatrist to assist me when this goes to court. My PTSD has gone undiagnosed and untreated for 43 years. I can’t be treated unless I have the diagnosis but the VA won’t give me the diagnosis for fear that I may be compensated. The really sad part of this is unlike others with this condition I could not use alcohol or drugs to address my symptoms. As a result I was able to achieve things that others with this condition could not. While I am still suffering from this condition and other conditions that are related I have a clear vision of how to help others with this condition but I can’t do that because the VA won’t give me the diagnosis. I am now 61 years old and I became disabled in 2005 my condition just keeps getting worse and there are few treatment options available at the VA. I was being treated in a group setting for military sexual trauma as was starting to get better when I was betrayed by the doctor leading that group. In this group every time someone new shows up we would introduce ourselves and then tell our story. We did this and then the new guy announced he was gay. I have no problem with gay people but I would not like them to know about my sexual trauma. After that happened the nightmares returned with a vengeance and I had to quit the group. You would think the doctors would ask about sexual preference during intake. I am opposed to gay segregation except in cases like this. I have been told after the fact by several VA officials that there is indeed a gay agenda within the mst team. It’s scary to think that they may be thinking that being gay would cure you of mst. Sexual trauma is worse than most other traumas in that it is brutal on an intimate level. It is a very personal kind of misery that scars you for life and having the VA play loose with that is an ugly form of abuse in and of itself. My case has been ongoing since 2006 and in review at Washington DC. I finally have the PTSD diagnoses but for legal reasons I am not allowed to share that with the VA. I have been told by my attorney to aggressively seek diagnosis and treatment from the VA one last time and if that fails we have an ironclad case and I will have to be compensated from 1967 until now based on my Social Security earnings report. The VA failed to advise me of my right to appeal in 1967 when I first filed for treatment and compensation. Enclosed is a cd that contains a well-documented case that proves my claim and shows a very sloppy attempt by the Army to cover up what they did to me. It illustrates the vicious attitude of even the doctors who were supposed be treating me. My illegal discharge from the Army was another miscarriage of justice. Was I really a bad person because I was immature after having two years of my life ripped from me? Bear in mind that at the time of the trauma I was only17. Did I make mistakes? Yes but what 15-year-old kid wouldn’t and that was my level of maturity because of the memory loss. The documented side effects of LSD and BZ from Edgewood labs states that personality changes were to be expected. I was discharged for a personality defect. What is really chilling is this can still happen in the military. I have a degree from The University of California and I have never been arrested for anything. I am a good husband and father. I have a very good reputation in my community even though I am totally disabled with severe mental illness. With PTSD and the VA there is every reason to punish the good and reward the worst of us.
Enough about me let’s get to my real goal for writing this letter. That goal is preventing sexual predators from entering the military in the first place. I feel that we owe our men and women in all branches of the service the best possible effort to keep them safe from sexual crimes. This can be done through a simple general order. We need no legislation or committees.
First of all new recruits should be asked under penalty of perjury if they have ever been arrested for a sexual crime where violence was used or the victim was a minor.
If the answer is yes then how many times with how many victims. If there is only 1 arrest with no conviction then they should be allowed to serve but this information would be available to military law enforcement. Two arrests would mean that a jacket with all the details of those charges listed would be made available to military law enforcement in the event that person is accused of a sexual crime while in the military. Three arrests for a sexual crime would constitute a security risk and that person would be barred from the military. The reason for arrests is a simple one given convictions for sexual crimes are very hard to achieve. Being a security risk is not a violation of the presumed innocence of a person. It is more a safeguard that is put into place to safeguard our troops and to inspire confidence in our armed forces. In other words better safe than sorry.
The order would also apply to those already serving. If someone already in the armed forces were to have three arrests or more then they will have a grace period to apply for an administrative discharge with whatever benefits are accorded for time in service. If they fail to take advantage of this and they are accused of a sexual crime while serving and the FBI finds those arrests they will be vigorously prosecuted for perjury and dishonorably discharged. That would count if any arrest for sexual crimes were omitted during a vetting process service wide. In any case of a crime of a sexual nature the FBI would make an investigation to determine whether that individual had been arrested for sexual crimes in the past. The only exception would be juvenile cases and in those cases (one but not more) where there was a trial resulting in an acquittal.
PS I am available for testimony or support of any kind if it should be needed to affect any changes in policy especially where it concerns the safety of our men and women serving in the armed forces.