first published on August 19, 2017 by Josh
What’s the best way to drive a ton of traffic to your completely average Mommy Blog? Make a rape accusation against a high ranking Army official in order to cause a national stir centered around you. At least, that’s what Susan Shannon did. In 2013 she created two separate blog posts, and a lengthy Facebook post stating that an Army Colonel, who was on the verge of becoming a Brigadier General, had raped her back in 1986 when they were both cadets together at West Point.
Colonel David “Wil” Riggins, the man accused of rape, had his entire career put on hold over this. He immediately waived his right to an attorney and denied the allegations against him and cooperated fully with the CID investigation. While the CID investigation could not, without a shadow of doubt, prove or disprove any criminal misconduct or sexual assault from Colonel Higgins, the Army was facing heavy criticism for their handling of sexual assault cases, and they removed Higgins from the promotion board to Brigadier General, prompting him to retire from the Army.
Riggins however did not let this be the end of the case. He counter-sued Shannon for defamation stating 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.” Later, there was a trial that lasted for six days. A jury in Fairfax County, Va., heard from both parties at length, and after a two and a half hour meeting the Jury decided in Riggins’ favor.
He was awarded 8.4 million dollars in total. Shannon was ordered to pay $3.4 million in compensatory damages for injury to his reputation and lost wages, and $5 million in punitive damages in order to deter other people from making the same false claims in the future.
Do you think the Army made the right call by removing Colonel Riggins from the promotion board simply because of the investigation?