Raped Soldiers Find No Justice

Raped Soldiers Find No Justice May 4, 2012

This article in the Army Times begins with a disclaimer: “Some details of this story are graphic and may be disturbing.” No. Every detail of the story is disturbing, from the fact that it takes place routinely to the fact that the perpetrators got little punishment for it. First, the rape itself:

Minutes after returning to his room after a long day of training Iraqi soldiers, Spc. Jarett Wright heard the door open.

Three of his fellow soldiers entered and pushed him down on the bed. Wright struggled, but the other soldiers were too strong.

Two of them — both sergeants — held him down by the shoulders. Another grabbed his legs.

The soldiers ripped off Wright’s belt and tore off his pants and underwear.

Taking turns, the sergeants grabbed Wright’s genitals while the third soldier repeatedly shoved a finger into his anus.

The attack lasted about a minute. But Wright was not the first, nor the last, soldier in C Troop, 1st Squadron, 9th Cavalry Regiment, to endure this kind of assault. The unit calls itself “Crazy Troop.”

Wright, who spoke to Army Times about what happened to him, said all the new guys in the troop experienced some sort of initiation. However, the initiations escalated with attacks on him and two other specialists, he said. The two other victims also described identical attacks in interviews with Army Times.

And the result:

The cases against the soldiers in 1st Squadron stem from incidents that happened during a one-year deployment in Iraq from September 2010 to August 2011. After the attacks were reported, four soldiers were charged with crimes ranging from aggravated sexual contact to hazing, maltreatment and breaking and entering. Three of the soldiers — Sgt. Josue A. Nunez-Byers, Sgt. Brian S. Cornell and Sgt. Shane M. Newitt — have already been to court-martial. A fourth trial, for Spc. Benjamin Hill, is pending.

Defense attorneys for all four soldiers declined to speak with Army Times.

One of the specialists has been moved to a different barracks on post, but Wright still lives down the hall from Hill, who is not under any pretrial confinement, the soldiers said. Cornell is already out of jail and back in the unit, soldiers said.

The victims are still assigned to the same units, and in one case in the same barracks, with their abusers. And it looks like they got little more than a slap on the wrist for it. All three of the victims are leaving the military when their service time is up, which is hardly surprising. Their sadistic attackers will probably stay in and go on abusing others.

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