Thursday, December 29, 2005

Frank criticizes Army Chief over attack of gay soldier in Arizona

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According to an article published by, Congressman Barney Frank (D-Mass.) has written a letter to the United States Army Chief, criticizing him over the attack of a gay private in Arizona. In the letter, Frank chastises Army Chief of Staff General Peter Schoomaker over the handling of the beating and harassment case involving Kyle Lawson, a gay private stationed at Fort Huachuca in Arizona. According to the article:
Pvt. Kyle Lawson accused a fellow member of a training unit at Fort Huachuca in Arizona of punching in the face during a homophobic outburst at an off-post party after a friend let it slip that Lawson was gay. Lawson's nose was broken in the attack. Because the beating occurred off base the Sierra Vista police department responded. The soldier accused of hitting Lawson told police that Lawson made sexually suggestive remarks. But the Sierra Vista police officer who investigated the case says "there was no provocation." Lawson also says that a second soldier threatened him with a knife outside a barracks as word spread about his sexual orientation. He said he is so concerned about his personal safety he's sleeping on a cot in his drill sergeant's office. Police charged Lawson's alleged attacker with felony aggravated assault - a charge that draws an average 3 1/2 years in prison upon conviction in Arizona, more if a judge finds the crime was hate-based. Details of the case were turned over to military police at the base but the army has done little to prosecute the alleged attacker in a military court. Lawson said as far as he knows, his attacker was punished by losing some privileges, such as having his weekend pass revoked.
In his letter Frank says, "According to unchallenged reports, the local police believed the attack to be a criminal assault, with no justification such as self-defense." He continues, "Despite this, apparently at the request of the Army over which you preside, no charges were filed against the assailant and the consequence is that Private Lawson was doubly victimized, once by the assailant, and then by having to leave the Army in the absence of any action by those under your command to protect him." Frank is criticizing the Army Chief and the military claiming that they are ignoring their commitment to curb anti-gay harassment within the Armed Forces, which was made in 2000. General Schoomaker has not yet responded to the Congressman's letter. See earlier posts: ======= I really do hope that this will be the "straw which breaks the camel's back" in the controversy over the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy and the exclusion of openly gay American citizens from serving in our military. It is unjust and un-American to not allow a person the privelege of serving in their nation's military solely because he or she may be gay, and living honestly about. I hope Congressman Frank raises cain about all of this and I hope the House of Representatives and the Senate will both take notice. Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , , ,