Military rejects cadet’s rape claim, expulsion possible
NEW YORK (AP) _ A West Point cadet may face expulsion after military investigators rejected her rape accusation against a male cadet and instead ruled the two had consensual sex.
Cadet Su Jin Collier, 19, could be kicked out if she is found guilty during a hearing Thursday of having sex on campus, which is considered sexual misconduct by the Army.
Collier, a second-year student from El Paso, Texas, said Monday that she wants to remain at the academy even though it is the second sexual attack she has reported there.
``You have to understand that the only way that you can ever make changes is to be a part of the system,″ she said. ``If I choose not to be a part of the system, then I’m never going to make changes.″
She said sexual harassment and assault is widespread at West Point, which opened to women 20 years ago. Male cadets outnumber women 17 to 1.
``It happens quite a bit,″ Collier said, adding that many women don’t report sexual assaults because if they did ``they’d probably be sitting where I am.″
Collier’s attorney, Alen Beerman, said an upperclassman was expelled in 1995 after an investigation found he ``exerted his position of authority″ over Collier and committed a ``rape of duress.″
West Point spokeswoman Andrea Hamburger said no one had been expelled for rape, but confirmed that upperclassmen have been thrown out for having sex with subordinates, which is prohibited.
In the current case, Beerman said Collier and Cadet X had a ``friendly relationship″ that was romantic but never went as far as sexual intercourse.
Beerman said that when Collier ended the relationship in May, Cadet X began stalking her, becoming ``sexually aggressive and abusive.″ In November, he said, Collier was ``lured″ to Cadet X’s barracks under false pretenses and raped.
He accused the Army of conducting an ``inept, incompetent and incomplete″ investigation and fostering ``an atmosphere where some male cadets feel they can force themselves on female cadets with impunity.″
Hamburger defended the academy’s investigation.
``The charges were determined to be unfounded,″ she said.