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Serve your country. No matter what. (NYT): Classified as AWOL, Lieutenant Says She Was Raped at Army Base.

The lieutenant, Jennifer Dyer, 26, says she was raped by a colleague on Aug. 8 while training for deployment to Iraq at Camp Shelby in Hattiesburg, Miss., her fianc?Š, Edward Ottepka, said yesterday. Lieutenant Dyer would not discuss the case herself, Mr. Ottepka said, and is living in seclusion “close to people who are offering her care and support.”

Mr. Ottepka, a police officer and former marine, said the Army granted Lieutenant Dyer a two-week convalescent leave after the attack, but then demanded that she return to Camp Shelby. Although she submitted several reports to the Army stating that “her mental health would suffer” if she returned – and even offered to complete her tour at another post in New Jersey – the Army classified her as AWOL when she failed to report for duty in Mississippi on Aug. 30, Mr. Ottepka said.

“She was presented with a choice of abandoning her sanity or taking a stand and taking care of herself,” he said. “She’s chosen to hopefully become a productive member of society, but it’s made her an outlaw.”

After the attack, Lieutenant Dyer wrote, Army investigators secluded her in a motel room on Camp Shelby where she was interrogated for at least five hours. “I was made to feel,” she wrote, “as if I should have never reported the incident at all and that I was the offending party as opposed to the victim in this case.”

A few days later, she wrote, Mr. Ottepka flew to Mississippi and helped her get a blood test. In her statement, Lieutenant Dyer said the test “confirmed the presence of herpes type 2.”

Then, on convalescent leave, she returned to New Jersey, where she visited the Atlantic County Women’s Center, a private psychiatrist and a private doctor – all of whom counseled her not to return to Mississippi, she wrote. Mr. Ottepka said she gave her commanding officers these reports, which “stated clearly that going back would be absolutely disastrous to her short- and long-term mental health.”

But the officers ignored the reports, Lieutenant Dyer wrote, and ordered her to return to Camp Shelby or face prosecution. One officer, Lieutenant Dyer wrote, told her “that two weeks was a generous amount of time for leave and that it is enough time for a victim of such a crime to be recovered and returned to duty.”

F*ck ’em. Why should the troops ever trust the military?

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding