New Vt. Guard report reveals sex assault numbers - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

New Vt. Guard report reveals sex assault numbers

Posted: Updated:
MONTPELIER, Vt. -

In an unprecedented move, the Vermont National Guard reveals there were six reported sex assaults within the ranks last fiscal year. The sexual assault report comes after new laws mandated the release of such information.

Although this report is a step in the right direction for transparency in the Guard, sexual assault victims and advocates worry that these numbers are under-reported.

"I heard of cases of women reporting and then not being able to stay in the National Guard as a result of that," said Cathleen Wilson of HOPE Works.

Wilson says HOPE Works, the outreach program for sexual assault victims, has been working with the Vermont National Guard for years providing support to victims. But for the first time the number of those victims has been made public.

"It includes rape, sexual assault, aggravated sexual contact, abusive sexual contact, forcible sodomy, and attempts to commit these acts," said Angela Lakey, the Vermont Guard sexual assault response coordinator.

According to the legislative report, the guard had six reports of sexual assaults last fiscal year. The reported incidents include both on- and off-duty guard members, and all six victims were women. Wilson says military culture can make it hard for victims to come forward. And she fears other cases have gone unreported.

"I think that can be a source of concern for victims-- that they are worried that if they report this, that there could be some kind of retribution, perhaps the person who sexually assaulted them is a superior to them and they are their subordinate," said Wilson.

Of six reported cases, four were referred to local law enforcement and only one resulted in a guilty plea. Law enforcement could not find enough evidence to prosecute the remaining three, but the military took disciplinary action in one case and action is still pending in the others.

"Sexual assault, sexual harassment and discrimination based upon sexual orientation have no place in the Vermont National Guard. It's an attack on the values we defend and the cohesion our units demand," said Maj. Gen. Steven Cray.

Cray says the guard is working to improve its reporting procedures in an effort to give victims more faith in the system. For advocates like Wilson, she says this report is a step toward much needed transparency, but also warns it could deter other victims from coming forward.

"That is really the key is to make sure that victims feel supported and safe coming forward, that this doesn't inadvertently cause a culture of silence, because now the spotlight is on and people are watching. And so we certainly don't want that to be a case for hushing it up," said Wilson.

The report also states that none of the six sex assault incidents happened while Guard members were deployed.

Click here for the full report.

  • Local NewsMore>>

  • Police investigate Hinesburg woman shot by male relative

    Police investigate Hinesburg woman shot by male relative

    Thursday, April 24 2014 10:08 PM EDT2014-04-25 02:08:02 GMT
    Vermont State Police and Hinesburg police were on the scene at a shooting in Hinesburg at 8:45 p.m. Thursday night.Officials say a 71-year-old man shot a female relative. She was shot in the hand and chest and taken to Fletcher Allen Health Care where she is currently in stable condition.The man is in custody and police say there is currently no motive for the shooting and that there were no prior issues with the relatives.Police are currently still investigating the shooting.More >>
    Vermont State Police and Hinesburg police were on the scene at a shooting in Hinesburg at 8:45 p.m. Thursday night.Officials say a 71-year-old man shot a female relative. She was shot in the hand and chest and taken to Fletcher Allen Health Care where she is currently in stable condition.The man is in custody and police say there is currently no motive for the shooting and that there were no prior issues with the relatives.Police are currently still investigating the shooting.More >>
  • Robber hits the same bank twice?

    Robber hits the same bank twice?

    Thursday, April 24 2014 7:01 PM EDT2014-04-24 23:01:18 GMT
    A security guard and bank manager at the People's United in St. Albans held a would-be robber until police arrived. And investigators think he is the same man who robbed the bank Monday.More >>
    A security guard and bank manager at the People's United in St. Albans held a would-be robber until police arrived. And investigators think he is the same man who robbed the bank Monday.More >>
  • Man shot by Vt. cop faces charges

    Man shot by Vt. cop faces charges

    Thursday, April 24 2014 7:31 PM EDT2014-04-24 23:31:24 GMT
    A man shot by an officer inside the Bennington police station faces charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.More >>
    A man shot by an officer inside the Bennington police station faces charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.More >>
  • Man charged in Vt. teacher killing wants confession tossed

    Man charged in Vt. teacher killing wants confession tossed

    Thursday, April 24 2014 2:29 PM EDT2014-04-24 18:29:39 GMT
    A Vermont man charged with killing a popular St. Johnsbury teacher is asking a judge to exclude from his upcoming trial a detailed confession he gave to police investigators.More >>
    A Vermont man charged with killing a popular St. Johnsbury teacher is asking a judge to exclude from his upcoming trial a detailed confession he gave to police investigators.More >>
  • 2 Vermont men charged in guns and drug case

    2 Vermont men charged in guns and drug case

    Thursday, April 24 2014 2:13 PM EDT2014-04-24 18:13:57 GMT
    Two Vermont men are facing federal charges stemming from the left of firearms from a Hardwick gun store and the trading of some of those guns for drugs.More >>
    Two Vermont men are facing federal charges stemming from the left of firearms from a Hardwick gun store and the trading of some of those guns for drugs.More >>
  • Drug bust in Burlington's Old North End

    Drug bust in Burlington's Old North End

    Thursday, April 24 2014 6:18 PM EDT2014-04-24 22:18:27 GMT
    Police made a drug bust Wednesday night in Burlington's Old North End.More >>
    Police made a drug bust Wednesday night in Burlington's Old North End.More >>
  • Maine wire fraud trial of Vt. man set to conclude Friday

    Maine wire fraud trial of Vt. man set to conclude Friday

    Thursday, April 24 2014 5:49 PM EDT2014-04-24 21:49:11 GMT
    The wire fraud trial of a Vermont man convicted for the 2010 explosion that killed two workers at a New Hampshire gunpowder plant is nearing conclusion.More >>
    The wire fraud trial of a Vermont man convicted for the 2010 explosion that killed two workers at a New Hampshire gunpowder plant is nearing conclusion.More >>
  • 150 doctors targeted by tax fraud in NH, Vt.

    150 doctors targeted by tax fraud in NH, Vt.

    Thursday, April 24 2014 4:45 PM EDT2014-04-24 20:45:08 GMT
    New Hampshire Sen. Jeanne Shaheen has asked the Secret Service and Internal Revenue Service to investigate reports of tax fraud affecting more than 150 doctors and health care providers in the state and in Vermont.More >>
    New Hampshire Sen. Jeanne Shaheen has asked the Secret Service and Internal Revenue Service to investigate reports of tax fraud affecting more than 150 doctors and health care providers in the state and in Vermont.More >>
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and WCAX. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.