August 12, 2017

"Jury orders blogger to pay $8.4 million to ex-Army colonel she accused of rape."

WaPo reports.
Col. David “Wil” Riggins, after a highly decorated Army career that included multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, was on the verge of promotion to brigadier general in July 2013 when he... learned that a blogger in Washington state had just accused him of raping her, when both were cadets at West Point in 1986...

Riggins waived his right to an attorney and immediately gave a statement denying any sexual assault of the woman, Susan Shannon of Everett, Wash. Shannon also cooperated with the CID investigation, which could not “prove or disprove Ms. Shannon’s allegation she was raped,” the CID report concluded. But in the spring of 2014, with the armed forces facing heavy criticism for their handling of sexual assault cases, Secretary of the Army John McHugh recommended removing Riggins from the list for promotion to general. Riggins promptly retired.

Then, Riggins sued Shannon for defamation, claiming that every aspect of her rape claim on the West Point campus was “provably false,” and that she wrote two blog posts and a Facebook post “to intentionally derail [his] promotion” to brigadier general....
The jury sided with Riggins and awarded him $3.4 million in compensatory damages and — "to make sure nothing like this will ever happen again" (as one juror put it) — $5 million in punitive damages. The punitive damages will be reduced to $350,000, because that's the cap in Virginia, and the compensatory damages are expected to be reduced to $2 million. Shannon is, according to WaPo, a "stay at home mother of 3 teenagers." WaPo quotes Shannon saying "I feel like I'm a financial slave for the rest of my life."

Much more at the article, including details about what Shannon wrote in the blog post and how some things she said were "provably false," such as the assertion that West Point served "FREE beer" on the night in question. The top-rated comment is:
I am a liberal feminist. Please do not paint all of us with the brush. That said, I believe in evidence and justice for all. Women have historically been disbelieved when accusing men of rape. Nevertheless, I also know that some women use the accusation for vengeance. Based on the information in this article, I would vote with those jurors without hesitation. Denial of the truth of the Newtown tragedy speaks volumes about the woman's credibility.
ADDED: The comment I quoted refers to Shannon's blogging, that the Newtown shooting was “a planned event." She wrote: “I believe our GOVERNMENT shot those kids and teachers and used Adam Lanza and his family to pull it off.” (But that was not part of the evidence the jury heard.)

50 comments:

wendybar said...

Wah...Actions have consequences.

rhhardin said...

She accused him of rape why. If it's immediate, it's probably because he raped her.

Skeptical Voter said...

I dunno. Waiting 27 years to cry Rape! Sorta takes the bloom off the rose.

MayBee said...

Women have historically been disbelieved when accusing men of rape.

Is this true? How recent is the history of this disbelieving in the US?

Curious George said...

Wait, I'm confused. How is this Trump's fault?

Fernandinande said...

I am a liberal feminist. ... I believe in evidence and justice for all.

Well, which is it?

"Google Code Jam Won by Male for Umpteenth Straight Time"

buwaya said...

She accused him in 2013 of raping her in 1986 when they were both cadets, that is, 27 years before.
Why did she do this?

There is no knowing of course. But its traditional to speculate eh?

I suspect she was just an internet goof, telling a tall tale about an ex boyfriend. And perhaps longstanding bitterness about having washed out of West Point, the reasons for which may be relevant.

Besides being perhaps mentally unstable.

It seems that it was the Army CID investigators that locked her into her story in 2013. Its a bit difficult to back away once there is a legion of official gentlemen taking you seriously.

Anyway, she (Susan Shannon) has a gofundme page so if you disagree with the verdict you can help her out.

Birkel said...

Bankruptcy costs about $1500 and then she is free of this "financial slavery", right?

She tried to ruin his life. His life was upset. Her life was ruined. If karma exists this seems karmic.

Ray said...

And where does he get his promotion back from?

It seems he managed to get his reputation back in a painful and expensive process.

Usually the accuser is not named for false claims. And nothing happens to them.

Waiting 27 years? Crazy. My guess this was revenge for dropping out and somehow she blamed him for that. Memory is malleable. So she may really believe that. 27 years of regrets for dropping out of West Point. Or regrets on the ending of their relationship.

Is it possible to stop the deluge of false tape reports, while not hurting the filing of real rape claims?

buwaya said...

There are several reports on this.
Afaik, he says he dumped her in 1983 and had nothing to do with her since.
The act she alleges was in 1986, an instance of drunken sex.
Its possible she conflated him, he who spurned her, with some other fellow she met in a haze.

? I suspect washing out of West Point was very traumatic.
The coulda woulda been regret of a life - which seems a bit difficult to explain for a long-married woman with three fine children. But menopausal women can do odd things.

William said...

Women are sometimes disbelieved in their rape claims. That's perhaps due to the fact that women sometimes lie bout being raped.

bagoh20 said...

There are a lot of crazy people who will say anything, everybody lies, and if there is something to gain, most people will lie to get it. The idea that women claiming rape could not possibly be part of that group is just stupid. Unless you think women are not people, or are some special kind of extremely honest ones. That's not my experience at all.

Dishonesty and the fight against it is probably mankind's biggest challenge, and the thing we spend the most time and money pursuing and fighting. Think about how many times a day you have to use a security device: passwords, PINs, keys, door locks, alarms, security personnel, safes, vaults, walls, fences, hiding things, watching your stuff, ect. Now look at the society with lawyers, police, courts, jails, etc. It may be the quintessential human activity: lying, cheating, stealing and fighting against it. A 24/7 war with 100% participation of every human. God, we suck.

bagoh20 said...

I don't know how you repay someone for ruing their life's ambition which included risking their life, and decades of work and dedication.

Maybe the crime for lying about rape should be that the liar has to submit to sex with their victim, or a person of their choosing.

I know, I'm a sick bastard.

bagoh20 said...

Shame on the Army for letting an unsubstantiated claim ruin a good soldier. Their disloyalty is as bad as her lies.

mockturtle said...

Rape is something from which forensic data can be drawn shortly after the fact.

JAORE said...

Karma is only a bitch if you are.


No, I don't believe in karma, but this shoe seems to fit very well.

Sympathy level zero for her. For her kids? Sure in many ways.

Ralph L said...

She signaled her virtue a little too much.

mockturtle said...

No, I don't believe in karma, but this shoe seems to fit very well.

How about, "Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man sows, that shall he also reap. Galatians 6:7.

Garland Fleming said...

Why so long? Her comment (tagged at the end) about the school shooting being a government plot might answer that... she's mentally ill. As for a bankruptcy discharge, intentional torts often can survive the filing.

Fernandinande said...

Garland Fleming said...
might answer that... she's mentally ill.


Her webpage says "pretty damned nutty if not actually insane" loud and clear.

MaxedOutMama said...

Sounds like the jury had good reason.

I do have some sympathy for the woman, because it appears that she is a real head case. But 99.9% of my sympathy is reserved for the victim - the man falsely accused of a very serious crime who lost his career and had to spend all the intervening years between 2003 and this verdict dealing with the fruits of this lady's problems. Mind you, this is a man who risked his life for his country in combat. And then he got leveled by a psycho. What a horror!

This may be rough justice, but at least it IS justice, and I don't think the award is excessive at all.

The Drill SGT said...

I was a math prof at the USAMAPS and USMA from 82-85. I don't see how a jury could believe her story, when the basis is "Free Beer" and "he picked her up in his car".

1. No Beer at USMA except in private quarters of the staff and the Officer's Club.
2. LOL, no free beer period
3. Riggins was a junior at the time. No cadets have cars. period. IIRC, Graduating seniors could take possession of a car just before graduation, but the cars went into a big lot guarded by MPs.

mccullough said...

The Secretary of the Army is a coward. Anyone thinking about a career in the military or attending West Point should be wary of this type of bullshit. The CID investigation was a joke. Military is as PC as Google

MaxedOutMama said...

bagoh20 - But I suspect the political environment was such that even if the investigators were acutely skeptical after a thorough investigation, issuing a report that suggested the accuser was lying would have ended their careers a la Damore.

Yes, I do think it's a shame, but that's the system. Also it is not necessarily true that the CID team heard the same story told at the trial with its obvious falsehoods.

You only have to think of the Fort Hood shooting by Nidal Hassan, and the failure over years to act on the obvious clues as to Hassan's inclinations to understand how PC the military culture is.

I think the jury's desire to smack this down speaks to the average individual's worry over what we have become.

Mary Beth said...

Anyway, she (Susan Shannon) has a gofundme page so if you disagree with the verdict you can help her out.

The gofundme page has a picture of her family. I feel sorry for her kids.

mockturtle said...

M.O.M. recalls: You only have to think of the Fort Hood shooting by Nidal Hassan, and the failure over years to act on the obvious clues as to Hassan's inclinations to understand how PC the military culture is.

Yes. And the brass was insistent that it was not terrorism but mental illness that spurred the attack. What worries me is how deeply entrenched our military might be in the Deep State/pro-Saudi/PC cabal.

mockturtle said...

Sorry for the distinctly OT post.

Big Mike said...

I am a liberal feminist. Please do not paint all of us with the brush.

Why not? When liberal feminists push the obvious falsehood that "20% of all coeds will be raped" then you deserve the brush being applied good and hard.

That said, I believe in evidence and justice for all.

I interpret the juxtaposition of this sentence with the previous two to mean that the default position of a bona fide liberal feminist is the opposite.

Women have historically been disbelieved when accusing men of rape.

Bullshit

Nevertheless, I also know that some women use the accusation for vengeance.

No shit, Shirley. Like "Mattress Girl" getting even with her boyfriend for dumping her, and being supported by Columbia in her dramatics. Like Lena Dunham alleging that she was raped by a campus Republican. Like the Duke lacrosse team. Augustana College expelled a student for rape. The university settled after it turned out that he was physically handicapped and could not have "run down" the alleged victim since he had lost part of both feet in an accident prior to the incident.

Based on the information in this article, I would vote with those jurors without hesitation. Denial of the truth of the Newtown tragedy speaks volumes about the woman's credibility.

I interpret that last, gratuitous, sentence to mean that if the female blogger hadn't proved herself to be bat-shit crazy you, the liberal feminist, might well have sided with her anyway. Good to know.

cyrus83 said...

The whole point of a legal system is to have it be the place where these sorts of claims are tried and punishment meted out. This insistence that the employer or a school take action when the courts don't is an end run around the system that is pretty much guaranteed to affect some innocent men, and every such example reduces the credibility of all future accusers. The point of the legal system's standards is to give confidence that those convicted are truly guilty.

From my perspective, an accusation of rape made in an extra-legal context is defamatory given the consequences the accused can face, and more men falsely accused should pursue defamation claims to drive these accusations back where they belong - the courts, not the media, social media, workplace, or school.

Michael K said...


"Shame on the Army for letting an unsubstantiated claim ruin a good soldier."

Obama appointment with no military experience.

McHugh never served in the military, but in nominating him, President Obama indicated his view that McHugh's extensive experience on the House Armed Services Committee had prepared him to serve as the Army's top civilian.

Nominal Republican but that seems a dubious virtue.

cronus titan said...

In 2013, Sabrina Erdely, of UVA-Rolling Stone infamy, wrote a story (and I do mean story) about an alleged sexual assault of a Navy sailor accusing three soldiers of sexual assault. It was a spectacular story, containing every bromide of the SJW crowd. Little, if any of it, was true. It had the same defects as the UVA story, such as talking to only one side, never questioning the allagtion (even where flatly contradictory evidence was known), considering nothing else, and sensationalizing it. THe usual SJW suspects ran with it to attacked the military culture. In a cowardly display, military leadership began taking scalps. Whether any of it was true or not was (and is) irrelevant. What was (and is) relevant is satisfying voices (which will never be satisfied). If that means cutting and running, they will do it.


The military cannot be sued for cowardice. That means that the only recourse is to sue false accusers until they spend their remaining days paying debt.

Unknown said...

> Women have historically been disbelieved when accusing men of rap

Now making up for it by stacking the deck in court system to assume men guilty. Can't bring in any character evidence.

JAORE said...

"You only have to think of the Fort Hood shooting by Nidal Hassan, and the failure over years to act on the obvious clues as to Hassan's inclinations to understand how PC the military culture is."

And all those poor soldiers that were sent to this monster for psychological counseling, fresh from the sand box.

Disgusting.

MaxedOutMama said...

mockturtle - but I don't think your post was OT. This blog post/discussion surely sits strongly in the center of an ongoing Althousian theme, including but not limited to Trump's election, the Damore thing, the legal pressure Google was under, and the transgender thing. The unifying theme is PC culture vs everyman culture, and the broader social, political and cultural implications of this conflict.

The reason why the PC thing and governmental involvement in it is so pertinent plays out in stories like this. The blogger was always liable for publishing an extremely severe libel, but the degree of the damage done (and her own consequent destruction) was greatly exaggerated by the bureaucratic response to PC pressure. If the military could have done the right thing, and let this guy's career go on, then she would not now be facing this dire consequence.

And if the jury were not so concerned about the overall situation, would they have felt the need to go for 5 million in punitive damages? I think not!

The fact that the FBI and the military officials both flunked the Hassan case, resulting in mass murder, is no different than the fact that the FBI was futile in preventing the Pulse mass murder - this after the perp had been reported multiple times, including by a sheriff. And the refusal of the FBI to attribute the Pulse attack to terrorism (and the attempt to suppress the 911 call in which the perp pledged allegiance to the ISIS leader), certainly caused concern on the part of the public. The same with the Boston Bombers, and the same with the San Bernardino massacre by the jihadi couple. In every case, you have an institutional failure.

The compilation of such instances clearly had some link to Trump's election. In particular, the SB revelation (turned up by reporters) that the jihadi bride met her intended on a radical Muslim dating site and may not even have met him before she was issued her visa, which should have raised red flags preventing the visa, followed by the reluctance to concede the obvious motive, sparked justifiable public concern. It was Trump's willingness to speak the "unspeakable" that moved him from being a reality-show huckster to an actual political candidate, and the Pulse horror gave him another leg up.

Free speech, governmental grappling with "disapproved speech", dysfunction of bureaucracy and regulatory pressuring of the private/educational sector are themes that Ann has been stressing for close to a year. The Madison post re "gee, we'll round up our worst offenders even if they are AA" the other day was just a local example of the same syndrome. This one story is only part of a much bigger story, but it probably cannot be meaningfully separated from the bigger story.

Guildofcannonballs said...

Funny it's not ex-colonel in the Army but instead ex-Army colonel.

You keep the title of colonel after your career ends, but have no organization the rank belongs within.

I hope John McCain had no involvement in the process of determining who benefitted from the accusation's effects.

TWW said...

The important issue is that, arguably, our most important institution, the military, caved to this lunatic. What a message it sends.

glenn said...

Like Dad said "First you need honest people"

rhhardin said...

It's a rap culture.

rhhardin said...

You'll get honest people if there are good models.

Guildofcannonballs said...

"The same with the Boston Bombers,..."

Yeah but top detectives in Boston knew, and know now, when three friends, yeah that's right, friends, of the Bombers (maybe just the older, then at least, now dead though, brother) were beheaded on Sept. 11 a few years before the marathon bombing it was that darned marijuana they were all mixed up in that was the, in reality, bloody-handed culprit. Essentially.

It was spread all over their bodies, the green leafy vegetable-looking contraband, probably partially covering their decapitated heads too one can safely presume, so really how could anyone fault, ESPECIALLY WITH 20/20 HINDSIGHT, these Top Detectives from blaming the damned junkie pot smokers and the D R U G S as their (the?) lifeless heads lay unimaginably separated from their respective, until that day, body amongst what they, must have, referred to as the ill-gotten lucre they were repeatedly warned of coveting even unto their ultimate demise on this earthly realm.

You mess with the weed of the bull, and young man you will get the damn horns, believe you me.

Feste said...

~
“She reported that she ‘was out cold from stupidly drinking myself unconscious’ .... and that she had no memory of the actual assault.”

And so:

“The CID investigation found that, in light of the vastly different stories provided by Riggins and Shannon, and interviews of more than 30 people from that era, there was no ‘testimonial or physical evidence to corroborate Ms. Shannon or Col. Riggins’ version.’”

CID probably shot straight.

“But shortly before the trial began, the judge ordered references to the findings on Riggins’s version struck from the trial, Trichilo said.”

Something off here. Not enough information. This line of the WaPo article seems poorly reported. CID findings do not bind trial court findings of fact. The judge prevented jurors from relying on ambiguity for one side (Riggins) and allowed jurors to rely on ambiguity on the other (Shannon). Unless I’m misreading this.

The jury decided, “We need to make sure nothing like this will ever happen again.”

The jury decided to cover all future cases. There’s a thing in investigative work called motive, and this juror just gave the whole jury a motive. The problem in this case is that the real -- “this” -- that happened is a particular "this," and it's one that no jury can prevent in the future, namely, the "this" was the inconclusive CID findings, above.

Something still not right in this case.

holdfast said...

"Women have historically been disbelieved when accusing men of rape."

Are we including the Muslim world in this "history"?

But seriously - the thing about an accusation of rape is that it is, at law, just another accusation of a crime. And the modern western legal tradition, and our laws, both common and statutory, REQUIRE that all defendants be presumed innocent until proven guilty BARD. So in a sense there is a certain amount of disbelief - now that doesn't have to apply to to the accuser's friends, family and counselor, but it does apply to the justice system. As it should.

holdfast said...

It's been almost 20 years since I had to think about this, but in a claim for defamation, probably the hardest defense to prove is "truth". It's easier to defend on the grounds that the statement was not actually defamatory - hard to do with a rape accusation, or that the plaintiff didn't suffer measurable harm - again hard to do when it led directly to a loss of a promotion to flag rank. So here the defamatory nature of the statement and the harm are easily proven, and the defendant couldn't show that the statement was some sort of fair comment on a public issue or a reasonable, if mistaken, belief. Either he raped her or he didn't - and if it's totally unknowable or provable, then the tie goes to the plaintiff because in a "truth" defense the onus goes onto the defendant who made the statement.

At least that's my recollection.

Michael K said...

The important issue is that, arguably, our most important institution, the military, caved to this lunatic. What a message it sends.

This is why it was so important that Trump took the hit for the military on the transgender thing.

Nobody but about 20 individuals wanted this to happen. It would have torn apart the military recruit system.

How were we to deal with an applicant who shows up in a dress but has a dick ?

Achilles said...

Women have historically been disbelieved when accusing men of rape.

Why could this possibly be?All rape accusations or just the ones that are somewhat dubious? Like 27 year old rape accusations? If she carried a mattress around all that time would you believe her?

I mean it isn't like an accusation of rape/racism/sexism/assault/discrimination/harassment etc. style character destruction is the preferred method of political advancement for one side of the political spectrum or anything.

Bob Loblaw said...

Bankruptcy costs about $1500 and then she is free of this "financial slavery", right?

Court judgments aren't normally dischargable in a bankruptcy. She's stuck with it, and she deserves to be stuck with it if she made false allegations that ended his career.

Women have historically been disbelieved when accusing men of rape.

After Duke, UVA, Mattress Girl, plus a whole host of lesser known "he would have gone to jail but for the videotape" stories, I'm starting to wonder if those historical people had a point.

Bob Loblaw said...

How were we to deal with an applicant who shows up in a dress but has a dick ?

People like that should be rejected on medical alone. The military routinely rejects enlistees who need to have something major fixed because it's expensive.

holdfast said...

''How were we to deal with an applicant who shows up in a dress but has a dick ?'

Logically, we should re-design an $8 billion aircraft carrier to add special "Chicks With Dicks" showers and shitters. And others for "Dudes With Cooters".

On the upside, chicks with dicks are unlikely to have to be evacced from their ships due to pregnancy, unlike a significant percentage of the Navy"s actually female personnel.

http://dailycaller.com/2017/03/01/exclusive-deployed-us-navy-has-a-pregnancy-problem-and-its-getting-worse/?utm_campaign=atdailycaller&utm_source=Twitter&utm_medium=Social

Terry Ott said...

I’m reacting to the comment about Sec of The Army McHugh having not served in the military, but President Obama claiming that he had plenty of experience in military-related politics to make him qualified to carry out that role. Par for the course in the bubble that is Washington DC, I guess.

I found this comment in the Wikipedia article about McHugh: "In 2006 McHugh was named one of the 50 most beautiful people on Capitol Hill by The Hill magazine.” When I was in the Army, we’d pretty much not want anything to do with “beautiful people on Capitol Hill”, much less have our careers and personal lives affected by them. Let them make speeches, be in parades, and play golf with Generals, I say. If the Congress (both parties) was filled by Master Sergeants and Sergeant Majors and the equivalent from other branches ... we’d probably be a lot better served in terms of getting things done and working across the aisle.

Bad Lieutenant said...

If the Congress (both parties) was filled by Master Sergeants and Sergeant Majors and the equivalent from other branches ... we’d probably be a lot better served in terms of getting things done and working across the aisle.


Great idea! You'd only have to shoot about five hundred people. You can get Wolf 5.56 for 19 cents a round, sez AmmoGrab.com.