Civilian police investigate 130 cases of abuse in defense forces
SHE suffered a major blackout after years of abuse in the military, but now Mary-Ann Oaten’s case is under investigation by police along with 130 other people.
A total of 130 complaints of abuse in the military – including alleged rapes – have been forwarded to law enforcement agencies across the country by the Defense Abuse Response Task Force (DART).
Staff from the three services as well as retired officers and soldiers could face prosecution and jail time following investigations into 201 allegations.
Former Army Major Mary-Ann Oaten (her married name) is one of 12 cases referred to the ACT police sex crimes unit and she said she is finally receiving justice.
About 150 cases have been referred to defense force investigators for processing under the Defense Force Discipline Act and alleged perpetrators could be referred if found guilty.
Of the 130 serving and former staff who filed the most serious complaints, 88 received the maximum repair payment of $ 50,000 under the DART program.
So far, it has paid $ 65.705 million in public funds to victims of abuse in the military and the Australian Defense Force Academy (ADFA).
NSW Police are investigating 77 cases, Victoria Police 52 and Queensland Police 33. WA Police have 13, South Australia five, Tasmania one, and the Northern Territory 8.
Major Oaten’s affidavit obtained by News Corporation details years of systematic harassment and sexual abuse by senior officers between 1989 and 2001.
Her horrors culminated in a major psychological crisis following the alleged rape, loss of career and the breakdown of her marriage to another army officer. Major Oaten was fired in 2001 after being found mentally unfit for service.
“I couldn’t defend myself until I got this affidavit from the police,” she said.
Her case was accepted by the DART and she received the maximum of $ 50,000 and is subject to restorative justice proceedings with the Defense.
“He [an RAAF Wing Commander] gave me a drink called ‘CC’ after which I was raped by him in a five star hotel in Perth in my uniform. I don’t have a full recollection of what happened, but I have vivid snapshots of what happened in that room, âthe affidavit states.
The officer continued to assault her over the following months, and the harassment included unwanted phone calls and gifts sent to her home.
None of the cases being investigated by police come from the top secret DLA Piper Volume Two report which remains classified.
News Corporation understands that the document, which has only been seen by a handful of senators and staff who have been sworn in secrecy, includes the names of dozens of former military leaders, including generals, admirals and Senior RAAF officers accused of covering up abuses.
DART’s eighth report is due later this month and its terms of reference have been amended to extend its activities until December of this year. The DART recommended a royal commission on abuse to the ADFA.