A Florida woman who had accused Coast Guard officers of sexual harassment has helped push through important legislation to protect future recruits. The 26-year-old woman said she abandoned her post with the Coast Guard shortly after finishing boot camp, largely because she was sexually harassed by a chief petty officer. That man is now in prison for abusing his position, though the charges were not related to this sexual harassment case.
The woman said she had filed a formal complaint against the military group, but most of her claims went unrecognized. She teamed up with a U.S. Representative from Florida and began writing letters to activist groups about her mistreatment in the service.
The recruit claims the sexual harassment began shortly after she arrived in New Jersey for boot camp in 2009. Even though her chief petty officer had led the sexual harassment training required during boot camp, it was that man who ultimately perpetuated the alleged assault. The woman said her supervisor told her to stay late and clean his office, where he began to ask her personal questions. The plaintiff and several other women allege the man made them clean his office on their hands and knees, putting them in compromising physical positions while commenting on their bodies. Others were coerced into having sex with the man because they were afraid of losing their jobs.
Officers say the Coast Guard is distancing itself from the offender, who is currently in custody for violating his duties as a superior officer.
The military is notorious for its mistreatment of men and women who claim sexual harassment. This is well-known among cadets and recruits throughout all branches of the service. You do not have to suffer in silence if you have been subjected to sexual harassment or assault during your military service. Contact a professional employment attorney to find out more about your legal rights and responsibilities.
articles.sun-sentinel.com, “South Florida veteran’s sexual harassment ordeal spurs national effort” Ben Wolford, Jun. 24, 2013