Tuesday, September 19, 2006

AWOL Soldier Claims Harrasment

EUGENE, Ore., Sept. 19 (UPI) -- A Eugene, Ore., Army specialist who claimed to have been sexually harassed could face prison time and a dishonorable discharge if convicted of desertion.

Spc. Suzanne Swift said she refused to be redeployed to Iraq after three alleged sexual offenses against her, including a coerced sexual relationship with a superior, during her first tour of duty in Iraq, The Washington Post reported Tuesday.

Swift told the Army of the offenses after she was arrested in June. The incident involving the sergeant who allegedly coerced her into a sexual relationship had already been verified and the sergeant left the military, but the Army was unable to verify two other incidents cited by Swift.

Swift was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder by a private therapist. However, the Army later said its evaluation found she had stress disorder symptoms but not the whole disorder.

The Army is deciding whether to go forward with a court-martial against Swift.

The case has gained attention from anti-war and women's groups, who have circulated petitions and protested on Swift's behalf near her base at Fort Lewis, outside Tacoma, Wash.

UPI Story

Exclusive interview with Ms. Swift

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