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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:
- Gay soldier to leave Army after being assaulted by 'fellow' soldiers
- Assaulted gay soldier exposes wrong of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'
- Mother of slain soldier accuses military of ignoring gay attacks & homophobia