Blogger Who Falsely Accused Army Colonel Of Assault Learns Her Fate

A jury has ruled on a case involving accusations of sexual assault against a colonel in the army.

Army Colonel David 'Wil' Riggins was about to be promoted to brigadier general in July 2013, but his life would quickly be turned upside down. He received a call from the from the Army’s criminal investigation division, and he would go on to learn that a female blogger from Washington state had posted claims that he raped her while they were both cadets at West Point back in 1986.

The matter was under investigation, but he vehemently denied the claims. Riggins would go on to file suit against the blogger.

As the Daily Mail shares, the jury has ruled in his favor. The blogger, Susan Shannon, 52, has been ordered to pay $8.4 million in damages.

“I feel like I’m a financial slave for the rest of my life” she said. “I told the truth in my article and at trial.”

For Riggins, the dollar amount is insignificant, as he simply wanted to get his life back.

“This journey we’ve been on the last four years,” he said, “it’s been a nightmare. … The large dollar amount is meaningless. All I was looking for was the opportunity to be vindicated, to set the record straight, to take every action to get my reputation back to where it was before the 15th of July [2013], when she published that false accusation.”

Tom Clare, a defamation lawyer with experience in similar cases, offered up some thoughts on the realities of today’s day and age.

“People really understand the value that a reputation has,” he said.

“Especially in today’s Internet environment when even a blog post or a tweet can have such a broad impact. It can literally go around the world. And if something out there is false, juries are prepared to issue significant awards.”

For the jury, things seemed pretty cut and dry. They had little trouble believing the story Riggins presented, while the blogger was viewed as not being as trustworthy.

It was revealed that the pair had a sexual encounter after a party, as well as a brief relationship that is said to have ended amicably.

“Honestly, we thought who was telling the truth was too obvious to be discussing. We held a vote, and everybody believed the colonel,” said one juror. “The only argument was how big the damages were going to be.”

“We need to make sure nothing like this will ever happen again,” added another juror, who noted that “There was no doubt in anybody’s mind the colonel had made his case. He was believable.”

Shannon has started a GoFundMe page to help with her newfound plight, and she has expressed concern that other alleged sexual assault victims will think twice before coming forward as a result of the verdict.

As Riggins sees it, “this will discourage other false accusations but would not discourage legitimate accusations of sexual assault.”

“We have tons of clients who want their reputation back,” Clare noted. “What they really want is a public vindication of the falsity.”

Source: Daily Mail
Photo: Facebook, US Army

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