Air Force Woman Could Be Convicted in Her Own Rape
A woman airman in the US Air Force who was allegedly raped by three of her male counterparts is being charged with indecent acts, according to an AP report. If convicted, the woman could face a year in prison, a pay cut, a bad-conduct discharge, and would even be registered as a sex offender, the woman's defense lawyers told the AP.
Cassandra Hernandez, who was stationed with the Air Force in North Carolina, was allegedly assaulted six months ago while in another airman's room; she fled partially clothed, she said. After reporting the attack she received a medical examination, but declined to testify after she was allegedly interrogated by an Air Force defense attorney without her lawyer present. "The pressure of the judicial process was too much for me, and I felt like no one was looking out for my interests," Hernandez wrote to the AP. She was subsequently charged with one count of consuming alcohol as a minor (she admittedly was drinking the night in question) and one count of committing indecent acts.
The Air Force Public Affairs division said that its investigation did not find sufficient evidence to support the woman's claims of sexual assault, reported KVUE, a Houston television station. The accused men were granted immunity from the sexual assault charges for their testimony against Hernandez in the US Air Force's case against her, KVUE further reported.
Hernandez worries that the handling of her case will impact others in the Air Force as well. "Will other women come forward after a rape when they hear that this is how they may be treated?" she wrote in a letters to the US Congress and Texas Gov. Rick Perry, according to KVUE. "The process has almost been as painful as the rape."
Hernandez is scheduled to begin court marshal on September 24.
Media Resources: Associated Press 8/7/07; KVUE 8/1/07