I appreciate very much the opportunity that Inside Edition gave me to tell my story, but was disappointed that questions that I believe are important, and would like to have been asked, were not. Did Inside Edition dig deeply enough, and ask the right questions, or was important evidence overlooked?
The man who is suing me, David Riggins (Retired Colonel), was asked “Did you rape Susan Shannon?”
Did anyone expect him to answer, “Yes,” to that question? Isn’t that what journalists refer to a “cream puff” or “soft ball” question?
The Inside Edition commentator stated that I had kept my rape a ‘secret’ for almost 30 years. That is not correct. Family and/or close friends were told of the rape. I also wrote about the rape on this blog before naming him specifically. I chose not to tell the authorities at West Point for the same reasons that many women choose not to report rapes: fear of being blamed, fear of not being believed, and being the subject of publicity that you would rather not have. However, I did report the rape in 2009 to West Point authorities and have the proof of it today.
The man suing me for $2.35 million claims that because I wrote about the rape, he was not promoted to General. No questions were asked about that assertion. I went to bed that night wishing that more of the most important questions had been put before the “Man-Who-Would-Be-General!
That night, I had a wonderful Christmas dream. I dreamed, not of dancing sugar plums, but of dancing cream puffs & snow flakes- of one cream puff in particular. He came alive and held a microphone and gave me all that I wished. We were back in the Inside Edition studio and this Cream Puff asked every question I my heart desired:
“You say that you had nothing to do with Ms. Shannon in 2nd and 3rd year at West Point, but didn’t your own sworn statement of the version of events state that you had sex with a ‘very drunk’ Susan Shannon in the front seat of your parents car, while each of you were first year cadets at West Point? ”
“Didn’t you also state that upperclassmen at the Halloween Party where you state this sex happened had told you to remove Ms. Shannon from the party because she was in danger of breaking regulations by ‘demonstrating too much affection’ toward you? And then, didn’t you state that your solution to this problem was to remove Ms. Shannon from the public party and put her in your parents’ car, a dark, private place where you then claim she aggressively pursued you and had two minutes of sex with you in that same car? Isn’t it true that the punishment for having sex on campus could be complete expulsion from West Point for both of you, a far worse result than a mere public display of affection infraction for only Ms. Shannon? Isn’t it also true that no upperclassman would have given you authority over another equally ranking cadet unless she was incapacitated by alcohol? Are you sure she gave her consent in your version of events?”
“And didn’t you also state that although you dated Ms. Shannon for four or five weeks after the incident where she allegedly sexually attacked you, there was no further sexual contact of any type with her? Did you have difficulty keeping this infatuated female away from you during this period? Do you have any witnesses to attest to that fact?”
“In 2009, Ms. Shannon accused you of rape on social media publicly. Why didn’t you challenge her, or deny her allegations at that time? Why would she make the allegation in the first place? How did it benefit her in any way? Was it her fault that you failed to impress the Secretary of the Army with your ‘judgment and character’?”
“You alleged that due to Ms. Shannon, you were not promoted to General, but is it not a fact that the Secretary of Army recommended, in writing, on June 18, 2014, that the Promotion Review Board (PRB) withdrew your name from consideration, stating that:
‘After a thorough review of the facts and circumstances contained in the investigation, the information that the PRB considered and the PRB’s recommendation, I do not have faith and confidence in Colonel Riggins’ judgment and character. Consequently, I do not support his promotion to brigadier general.’
“Was it so difficult to explain your actions 27 years ago, and to account for your conduct, that your wife needed to be at your side for the interview? Generals command men and women to go into battle to possibly give their lives for this country. Would your wife be needed for those decisions as well?”
“To what extent are your actions and conduct reasons why the Secretary of the Army did not have faith in your ‘judgement and character’? Are you saying that the entire Army’s promotion process is corrupt and that a soldier’s innocence is never considered after a mere accusation? Or do you believe that is all Ms. Shannon’s fault as well?”
At this point, I woke and knew it all to be a dream. The interview will continue to stand as it was. But I believe that my story would have been better told if these questions had been asked. If they had been, how do you believe that the Man-Who-Would-Be-General would have responded?
Ah well, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all!
see all news coverage of my story at the following links:
Links to media coverage: http://wjla.com/features/7-on-your-side/exclusive-retired-virginia-army-colonel-denies-rape-allegations; http://www.insideedition.com/headlines/13338-wife-stands-by-colonel-husband-accused-of-west-point-rape-hes-not-capable-of-that;