DA: Army National Guard Recruiter accused of rape will face three trials

FORT EDWARD, N.Y. – Robert Haas was once a well-respected Army National Guard Recruiter but now authorities say the man used his position to gain the trust of women and then take advantage of them.

Haas, 36, is accused of raping two women in Washington County and strangling a third. He is facing three separate trials: two in Washington County and one in Warren County. Authorities say there could be more victims.

Haas was arrested in April. Authorities said Haas met his victims through his position as a military recruiter as well as through various dating websites.

Washington County District Attorney Tony Jordan said one of the victims didn’t even know she was sexually assaulted. He said Haas drugged her. Jordan said they found a video of Haas’ raping the victim. That video was recovered along with thousands of photos.

original article

U.S. Army

U.S. Soldiers, Accused of Rape in Italy, Hope to Go Free in America

ROME, Italy — Two American military men based near the northern Italian town of Vicenza have been charged with raping, beating and stealing from a 24-year-old pregnant Romanian woman.

The American paratroopers identified in the Italian press as Gray Lamarcus, 22, and Ides McCough, 21, were arrested on Thursday after the unnamed Romanian woman, who reportedly sometimes works as a prostitute, pressed formal charges against the men.

The incident allegedly took place on the night of July 14, when the military men arranged for a ménage à trois with the woman. But, according to police documents related to the case, when the three met in an agreed forest clearing, the Americans had other ideas. They refused to pay the Romanian woman, who is six months pregnant, and instead took turns forcefully raping and beating her. They then allegedly stole the money from her handbag. According to her lawyer, Alessandra Bocchi, the woman’s back was badly scratched from branches and her face and stomach were badly bruised from the beating. Her unborn child is not in imminent danger.

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Service Academy

Report: AFA Cadets Rape, Get High, and Cheat

Air Force Academy athletes, including football players, participated in wild off-campus parties featuring booze, marijuana, and date-rape drugs, according to an investigative report.
The report by the Colorado Springs Gazette, based in part on Freedom of Information Act documents, stated that “cadet athletes flouted the sacred honor code by committing sexual assaults, taking drugs, cheating and engaging in other misconduct at wild parties while the service academy focused on winning bowl games and attracting money from alumni and private sources in recent years.”
The parties dating back to 2010 included “a core group of top football players” who allegedly smoked synthetic marijuana, drank heavily and used date-rape drugs to incapacitate women who were then sexually abused, the Gazette report said.

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MRCC was created to help survivors both outside and inside the organization. After careful evaluation we have dismissed a member of our organization due to statements and actions directed towards survivors that we deem to be harmful and counterproductive to our mission statement.

Any questions or concerns you may contact


Midshipman facing sexual assault charges wants superintendent removed from case

One of two midshipman facing court-martial in the alleged sexual assault of a classmate asked a federal judge Wednesday to remove the U.S. Naval Academy’s superintendent from the case, saying he is biased against the defendants.

Joshua Tate, 21, of Nashville, filed a motion in federal court in Baltimore asking U.S. District Court Judge Ellen Hollander to take the case away from Vice Adm. Michael Miller, the academy’s superintendent. It is the second time Hollander has been asked to intervene in the case.

Miller last week referred Tate and Eric Graham, 21, of Eight Mile, Ala., to face court-martial over the recommendation of a military judge who presided over a preliminary proceeding known as an Article 32 hearing.

Tate is charged with sexual assault, and Graham is charged with abusive sexual contact. Both are also charged with making false statements. They face the possibility of imprisonment and expulsion from the academy.

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House Passes Two Speier Amendments on Military Sexual Assault in Defense Appropriations Act

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The House today passed two amendments offered by Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D-San Francisco/San Mateo) in the Department of Defense Appropriations Act (HR 2397), both related to the handling of sexual assault cases. The amendments address the pervasive misuse of ‘personality and adjustment disorder’ as a diagnosis of victims of sexual assault and provide additional funding to train investigators of sexual assault crimes. For the first time, the Department of Defense will identify and correct cases where a service member reported a case of sexual abuse only to be wrongly diagnosed with a personality disorder and discharged.

“This is an encouraging show of bi-partisan agreement,” says Speier. “Mental health diagnoses are rampantly misused to administratively discharge or retaliate against survivors of sexual assault. These dismissals are like scarlet letters, pinned where medals should be. They affect survivors’ lives, their ability to find employment, and to collect benefits. My amendment directs the military to right this wrong.”

“This is a huge step forward for the hundreds of survivors who have contacted us that were wrongly discharged after reporting,” says Nancy Parrish, President of Protect Our Defender. “Many have suffered the pain of a terrible act only to be further humiliated by being dismissed as the source of the problem.”

Misuse of ‘Personality Disorder’ Diagnosis
This amendment provides $65 million to the Department of Defense to review thousands of victims who were potentially discharged wrongfully because of an improper personality or adjustment disorder diagnosis. The amendment directs the Secretary of Defense to correct records of service for those wrongly discharged and provide them with compensation and services they weren’t eligible to receive as a consequence of this error.
Since 2001, the military has discharged more than 31,000 service members on the grounds of personality disorders.

Investigator Training
This amendment provides an additional $10 million to train investigators on how to properly investigate sexual assault related offenses.

“As any prosecutor or legal expert will tell you, when you have problems with the investigation of a case, you aren’t going to get a fair and accurate decision,” says Speier. “Ensuring that assaults are investigated properly is the first step for holding perpetrators accountable. Criminal investigators want and need more training on conducting sexual assault investigations.”

The Department of Defense released a report by the Inspector General last week outlining failures in the handling of sexual assault cases. Out of 501 investigations, all but 83 had “deficiencies.” Overall, 399 of these cases had interview and post-interview deficiencies. Weaknesses were found in the interview process, collecting evidence, not developing leads, and photographing the scene.

Department of Defense veterans issues

Response to “Bristol Town Council stands by harbormaster,” July 10, 2013, East bay RI

For Immediate Release

July 14, 2013

I am writing in response to the article “Bristol Town Council stands by harbormaster,” July 10, 2013

I did not authorize my name to be released in the article. I am a victim of a rape and I felt that it was insensitive and inappropriate for Bristol Phoenix to publish the name of a rape survivor. I unwillingly and unknowingly was dragged into what obviously is small town politics. I was never interviewed by Mary Parella or the Bristol Town Council, nor by the journalist who wrote the article, Christine O’Connor.

This is my statement:

I was brutally raped in 2006 while serving under the command of Gregg Marsili in the United States Coast Guard. After reporting my rape I was further victimized, blamed, doubted, ridiculed and retaliated against. I am still suffering from the trauma that I experienced while under Marsili’s command.

The Department of Veterans’ Affairs diagnosed me with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as a result of Military Sexual Trauma. It has been very difficult seven years. I am often awakened by nightmares of being back at Station Burlington, VT and under the command of Gregg Marsili. I am in counseling for PTSD. Each day has been a struggle.

For the past seven years I served as Executive Director of the Military Rape Crisis Center, an organization that I founded while on Active Duty to help my fellow survivors. These survivors are all service members and veterans who have been sexually assaulted and/or raped. The organization is currently one of the largest of it kind. Each year we help an average of 1900 servicemen, women and veterans that have been raped.

I  learned that Gregg Marsili was appointed as Harbormaster by residents of Bristol. I was forwarded a press release by a Bristol resident dated May 25. It was written by Mary Parella in which she announced that there would be an investigation into Harbormaster-Elect Marsili’s past. Even though the investigation had yet to be conducted, Ms. Parella already clearly dismissed the allegations when she called them “rumors” and “innuendo” in that same press release.

On June 13, The Central Phoenix, Inez Casiano Chapter of the National Organization for Women (NOW), released a statement on my behalf. By email, NOW told Parella that they have “a victim statement and other official documentation regarding Mr. Marsili’s part in the incident …so the town of Bristol can include these files in their investigations.” Ms. Parella, nor anyone from Bristol Town Council has replied.

I was not interviewed for the investigation. Documentation that I felt backed up my claim was not considered or even reviewed. I feel that the investigation is incomplete since the witness was not interviewed.

On July 8th I received an email from Scott Pickering, General Manager of East Bay Newspapers, requesting to speak to me because my “name has surfaced in connection to Greg Marsili”. I replied that I was willing to speak to him and gave him my phone number.

The same day Pickering called me to verify my phone number and that if I was the Burlington rape victim. Pickering was driving and unable to conduct a full interview with me at that time. He said that Christine O’Connor would call me the next day for the full interview. The entire conversation with Pickering lasted 6 minutes. O’Connor did not call.

In 2012 the Department of Defense estimates that there were 26,000 rapes and sexual assaults in the Armed Forces. The actual number of assaults might be much higher since the United States Coast Guard is not included in those numbers. Statistics show that over 92% of all military rapists are NOT prosecuted and often are able to continue serving without a blemish on their record.

The survivors of military sexual trauma are systematically victimized for reporting rape. Survivors are often retaliated against, blamed or not believed. A Military Rape Crisis Center study estimates that over 90% of rape survivors lose their career after reporting that they have been raped.

At the center we find these statistics unacceptable and we work very closely with members of the United States Congress by advocating for legislation that would take the reporting out of the chain-of-command. Members of the Congress understand and acknowledge this injustice to rape survivors. In recent years legislation such as the Military Justice Improvement Act and the Sexual Trauma Oversight and Protection Act has been introduced to take the military reporting option out of the chain of command.

It was very difficult and emotional to read the Bristol Phoenix article. I want to thank everyone that responded. I have received countless emails of support from residents of Bristol, Rhode Island and neighboring communities who are upset at the article, Bristol Phoenix and the Bristol Town Council and are asking how they can help.

Everyone that wants to help can do so by contacting your representative and request that they co-sponsor the STOP Act-HR 1529. What Marsili did to me can not be undone but by taking the reporting out of the chain-of-command it could prevent another service member to suffer the way that I did.

As a victim of a rape I did not authorize Bristol Phoenix or Bristol town council to release my name in the article. I request the Bristol Phoenix to remove my name from the online article and to provide a correction in the next issue of the Bristol Phoenix.

Thank you,

Panayiota Bertzikis

Executive Director

Military Rape Crisis Center


House Gives Whistle-Blower Protection to Military Sexual Assault Victims

WASHINGTON (AP) – The House has approved a bill extending whistle-blower protection to members of the military who are victims of sexual assault.

The vote Thursday was 423-0 for the measure sponsored by Republican Rep. Jackie Walorski of Indiana. The bill would require the inspector general to investigate allegations of retaliation against a service member who reports a rape or sexual assault. 

U.S Coast Guard

Panayiota Bertzikis and Military Rape Crisis Center featured in July 2013 issue of Glamour

Attention Rapists: You’ve Met Your Match

From Steubenville, Ohio, to Washington, D.C., from city courts to Twitter feeds, a new generation of women are taking the fight for justice into their own hands. Let their total fearlessness inspire you….

That outrage is moving many women to action. After Panayiota Bertzikis, 31, reported being assaulted by a fellow Coast Guard member in 2006, she was furious that he wasn’t court-martialed and that, instead, superiors made her feel guilty. “Why would I be ashamed?” she asks. “It’s my rapist who should be ashamed.” She joined a class-action lawsuit, alleging that officers mishandled her case, and, from her barracks, founded the Military Rape Crisis Center. The snowball effect she created helped pressure Congress to hold hearings this year on military sexual assault; President Obama himself expressed outrage, saying, “I have no tolerance for this.”

Print edition here

Tablet edition here


U.S. Air Force

Air Force Officer In Charge of Sexual Assault Prevention and Response arrested for sexual battery.

Lt. Col. Jeff Krusinski was arrested early Sunday morning for assaulting a woman in an Arlington, VA. The police report states:

On May 5 at 12:35 am, a drunken male subject approached a female victim in a parking lot and grabbed her breasts and buttocks. The victim fought the suspect off as he attempted to touch her again and alerted police. Jeffrey Krusinski, 41, of Arlington, VA, was arrested and charged with sexual battery. He was held on a $5,000 unsecured bond.

Krusinski is the head of the Air Force’s branch of the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Program.  A spokesperson for the Air Force confirmed to local blog that Lt. Col. Krusinski was arrested this past weekend but won’t further comment on this incident.