Washington Post Article Major Errors
The W.P. article made yet another ERROR when it said, “Shannon also cooperated with the CID investigation, which could not “prove or disprove Ms. Shannon’s allegation she was raped.” NOT TRUE. The CID verdict said that NEITHER of our testimonies could be proven or disproven. That means they could not find sufficient evidence to BELIEVE Riggins’ bogus statements about our alleged ‘consensual’ sex in 1983 during freshman year. Shame on #TomJackman of the #WashingtonPost for skewing his article so firmly against me.
Indeed, the evidence they, themselves collected proved that Riggins’ story was full of problems. In my opinion, the CID and the Army chose to not move forward with a prosecution of Riggins based on the solid evidence they had about the entire situation. Based on any good investigators’ procedures, they should have followed up with him concerning the man with whom I actually went home that Halloween night- who gave testimony to confirm everything I said about that night- even about the poison ivy we both got that night. They should have followed up with the fact that rather than confront me in 2009 about my rape allegation to his FB account, which he admits happened, he chose to hide it from his superiors and never even confront me with it. He, a high ranking Army officer, didn’t report it to his commanding officers even though he knew the sensitivity of the political situation: ie, Congress was threatening to take rape prosecution away from the Army because of their poor rates of prosecution. Why would he hide that from his superiors if he was innocent? Why not confront me and tell me to stop and desist with my accusations? But the CID did not follow through with any of these questions or witness testimonies with Riggins even though his story, which no witnesses could confirm, were so at odds with witness testimony that confirmed my account. At all. They just let this evidence sit, asked nothing further about it from Riggins and then, simply let him go. I ask every criminal prosecutor out there: was this investigation done properly? Did they conclude it before all evidence was collected?
Gee, in today’s environment where Congress and the Public is threatening to take rape prosecution away from the Army, why would they prosecute a colonel whom they almost promoted to a general??? Especially considering that President Obama had signed for him to go forward on his promotion? They knew that such a high profile prosecution would make the news- even without my blog. How embarrassing would that be for the president?? And for the Congress. And for the Army. When the Army CID absolutely cut me off and refused to answer any further questions or complaints I had after I received the lawsuit, I had to conclude that they had acted in their own self interest, not mine.
Riggins goes around whining that the Sec. of the Army ‘didn’t want to expend his political capital’ by promoting him. I believe the truth is exactly the opposite. They didn’t want to expend their political capital by prosecuting him with the CID investigation. Prosecuting a colonel they were about to promote to one of the highest positions in the land would be a press nightmare for them. Better to throw me under the bus and sink or swim without their help.
CID facts: Riggins claimed I went home with him to the barracks after having ‘consensual sex’ with a visibly drunk female cadet (me), who is slurring and can’t walk straight, in his car. Doesn’t his account, though false, still sound like rape? (the Sec. of the Army was able to read this original statement too. I believe his CID statements had a lot to do with him not getting promoted. ) He had no witnesses to verify his story. He claimed that one of his roommates was in the back seat to witness the sex. They refused to back his account. He claimed that his sister was not in the car. He claimed that we dated for 4-5 weeks after the Halloween party. **
But I had the actual witness testimony that confirmed my never changing story that I went home with him (a different cadet) on Halloween night. I had the eye witness testimony from two of my roommates who also confirmed my unchanging story of Halloween night and the rape. I had his and my witnesses confirm my story that I never dated Riggins for those 4-5 weeks or ever. None of them witnessed us together romantically or ever heard of us together as a couple. None of his photos of me show us together. Even his mother testified that she didn’t know of any ‘dating’ between us. He claimed that he had almost no contact with me after this alleged dating. However, I had an eye witness who distinctly remembered him trying, for two years, to get my romantic attention and me never bothering to give him the time of day. And the same witness testified that directly before I claimed my rape took place, I became visibly upset when my friend mentioned Riggins’ name, said something harsh and ran out of the room. Again, no one could confirm Riggins’ story while I had many witnesses confirm mine.
**Riggins’ story continually changed from his CID statement to his Promotion Review Board Letter, to his deposition to the jury statement. His sister’s testimony changed from her CID statement to the jury. Hers and his accounts never matched up, no matter how many times they changed their story. His mother’s testimony changed from the CID report statement to her jury statement. Mine never changed. Ever. I told the CID about every event and witness and I never changed it and my story was confirmed by many witnesses. Who is telling the truth? (When you give a testimony, you have no idea if witnesses will be found or what they will say. I couldn’t have predicted that my witness would tell the exact story as mine- or any other of the witnesses. I never spoke to him (the cadet with whom I went home) until after the CID investigation was over and he tole me he was not informed about why he was being asked the questions- which makes his testimony all the stronger. But my story matches with every witness I brought- even his witnesses verified major points of my original account.)
I heard nothing about the results of the investigation until I got Riggins’ lawsuit. When I heard them, I was angry.
That is when I saw how shoddily the CID investigation was done.
I will always conclude that the Army decided to ‘make the entire problem go away’ by giving the ‘unsubstantiated by both parties’ ruling and by denying him promotion. They killed two birds with one stone. I was that stone. And they simply threw me into the river to drown.
Other errors in the article:
Jackson mentions that “one of her own witnesses testified that Shannon did know, and that it was the motivation for her writing her first blog post. Shannon said the witness misunderstood the question, but the information remained unchallenged for the jury to consider.” I told Jackman that Horvath, Riggins’ attorney had tricked my witness into answering the wrong way. I told him about the following Linked In evidence which was what Horvath was referencing when he spoke to my witness, but refused to show her the comment. But Jackman didn’t see fit to include it in his article or to say what actually happened.
TRUTH: I want to post the exact LinkedIn message I sent this friend and which Horvath refused to show her when she was testifying:
As you can see by the Linked In comment I sent my roommate, I clearly didn’t know he was being promoted to b.general before I wrote my first article. Horvath knew this 100% as this was sent to him. And yet, he continues to lie to the press and say I ‘intentionally’ derailed Riggins’ promotion. How could I if I didn’t know about it until AFTER I had written my article? Horvath knows he is lying to the press, but what’s new with this attorney? Rather than ask the proper question, Horvath tricked her by asking such a convoluted question about this comment that she answered, ‘yes’, by mistake. When she realized what she had done, she wanted to be put back up to set the record straight, but it was too late. The damage had been done. THIS is the real evidence that he was asking her about. And you can plainly see why he didn’t put it up for the jury to see.
My attorney never asked trick questions or tried to show people fake photos and get them to identify it as something else. Horvath won by trickery and low ethical practices in the courtroom, not with FACTS.
ERROR: It said, “In Washington state, Shannon told investigators there was no sex or relationship in 1983, only a rape after Riggins saw her staggering out of a pedestrian tunnel on campus in the spring of 1986. She claimed Riggins offered her a ride in his car, and that she had no memory of the actual assault, although she said Riggins “smugly admitted he did indeed rape” Shannon, according to a Fairfax court filing.”
TRUTH: First, I never said that Riggins saw me ‘staggering out of a pedestrian tunnel.” That is a lie. I simply said that I fell on some stairs on the way home to barracks and couldn’t move. I couldn’t stand up or walk. I simply testified that Riggins ‘came out of no where’ and offered me a ride and that it was a Godsend.
Second, to say “she had no memory of the actual assault, although she said Riggins “smugly admitted he did indeed rape” is so deceitful. Those two ideas were never together as implied by Tom Jackman. I reported that I didn’t remember the actual rape (ie, the sex part). Period. But I also testified that THE DAY AFTER, I confronted him and he admitted it- smugly and with great satisfaction. Tom Jackman is implying that there is a problem with my testimony by putting those two ideas together without stating that a day went past between the two events.
ERROR: The article states that “She said she presented a witness, another cadet, who testified that he — the witness — drove her home from the Halloween party. Shannon stands by her version of the events in 1986.”
TRUTH: I never said, “drove me home” to Tom Jackman. I said “we went to the barracks in an Army deuce and a half truck together.” Cadets can’t drive if they’ve been drinking. Plebe (freshman) cadets can’t drive at all without the owner of the car being present.
ERROR: “As an expert witness at trial, Horvath called retired Major General Peter Fuller to testify that the rape allegation would have caused Riggins’ promotion to be rejected. Horvath said Riggins’ income, both as a general and as a retired general, would have been much greater than that of a colonel.”
TRUTH: Tom Jackman failed to mention that General Fuller was a personal friend of Riggins for many years. Fuller also failed to provide a single ounce of data to support his claim that Riggins ‘would have’ made more money as a b. general. And he never testified that Riggins’ promotion would have been derailed ‘no matter what’, even if he was innocent. That is a falsehood repeated only by Riggins and his legal team. It is basically saying that the Army promotion process is 100% corrupt.** He should never have been allowed to testify as an ‘expert witness’ in the first place, according to VA’s strict definition of the term ‘expert witness’ but was allowed anyway. We, however, were held to the highest standard of ‘expert witness’. One professional, licensed therapist of more than a decade, was not allowed to testify on any of the data she brought. The expert witness on rape and sexual abuse that we were allowed to bring was restricted from saying that he diagnosed me with ‘severe depression’ or to give his expert opinion concerning how and why I would not have been able to report the rape in 1986, but could in 2009 and 2013 when I did. By placing the ‘expert’ testimony of this general ( his old boss in the Army and close personal friend) right next to Horvath’s FALSE statement that the Army would never have promoted an innocent officer, Tom Jackman tried to sway his readers into believing that the general testified to that statement and supported it.
ERROR: Tom Jackman failed to report that not only did the judge strike down the CID results that would show the true findings (ie, that Riggins’ story of ‘consensual sex’ on Halloween 1983 could NOT be substantiated in any way nor could his pleas of innocence) but also struck down all our eye witness accounts of his harassment of female cadets and blatant hatred of women at the academy. This allowed the jury to think of him as a soldier without character defects. I suppose Mr. Jackman wants his public to believe the same thing.
OBSERVATION: I find it interesting that Jackman mentions one sentence, out of context, from my five year old Sandy Hook article( without mentioning all the supporting detail I gave), when it has absolutely nothing to do with this trial. He admits it wasn’t presented to the jury. This statement, in addition to a single sentence from me about becoming Riggins’ sexual slave is what Jackson uses to characterize me- but about Riggins, he Jackman drones on about all his medals and professional accomplishments. Why didn’t Jackman mention my highly successful management consulting career and then my pride in my job as a mother? Jackman portrayed me as a whiner who has accomplished nothing and is doing nothing worthy while Riggins is a military hero. Nice. Why didn’t he mention the suicidal anguish I suffered for many years after I left West Point, the fact that it took me almost 3 years to complete the last 1/2 semester of college? That I struggled but never gave up, knowing that only a college degree could pull me out of the extreme poverty and homelessness I was experiencing after West Point? I can only conclude that Jackman wished people to make prejudicial political conclusions instead of basing their judgement on the facts of the trial. Nice, Tomas Jackman.
ERROR: Tom Jackman allowed Horvath to include his sorry mantra but not my responses to it, ““Everything in that blog post was provably false and could not have happened.” He said no free beer was provided on the West Point campus, that drinking was prohibited by cadets, that Riggins did not have a car in 1986, would not have been allowed to drive it on campus, and that anyone emerging from the pedestrian tunnel couldn’t have been seen from the road. Shannon’s claims that her grades plunged after the event and that she returned her class ring were also untrue, Horvath said.”
TRUTH: cadets of all years at West Point could own and drive and temporarily park at West Point. So, that is a lie. Free beer was provided often at West Point. Cadets could drink during the entire time I was at West Point- if not, how in the world could Riggins’ alleged account be true: that I was very drunk, that he had 5 beers and that he even DROVE under those conditions?? As for my grades, another lie. My grades DID fail- I was referring to major tests toward the end of the semester that counted heavily to my final grades. When I failed those, I knew I had no chance of getting onto the West Point medical school track and became extremely upset. That was part of the reason I quit when I did- to prevent those grades from being permanently on my GPA. As to the tunnel and steps, he didn’t NEED to see me from the road. All he had to do was see me leave drunk and staggering. There is only ONE ROUTE home to the barracks- through that tunnel and up those stairs. I never claimed to be at the bottom of the stairs either- I said I was out in the open- ie, the top of the stairs, which could be seen readily to any passerby. All he had to do was park his car in the substantial pull out next to the stairs and WAIT for me to arrive. I also testified that I believed I was drugged as well as drunk. I had never before and have never since felt entire body paralysis and complete black outs except on that one occasion. Rape drugs were readily available in 1986. But Tom Jackman didn’t report that even though I told him everything.
ERROR: Jackman wrote: ““The bottom line,” Shannon said, “is when the judge struck the [Army] CID findings at the beginning of trial” and prevented her witnesses from testifying about Riggins’s character, “we could not switch gears and defend me in a certain way.”
TRUTH: I didn’t say ‘in a certain way.” I said, “properly.”
ERROR: Jackman wrote, “She acknowledged that her blog post sparked an investigation which otherwise wouldn’t have happened, but that Riggins had the burden of proof to show that the investigation stopped his promotion.”
TRUTH: I never ‘acknowledged’ any such thing. I said that it was possible that my article sparked the CID investigation and I certainly never said it ‘otherwise wouldn’t have happened.” How in the world would I know that? Three women who claimed to work with him contacted my blog and wrote about what a liar and awful man he was to work for. One woman said, “He made my life a living hell.” How do I know what actually set off the investigation? Furthermore, I never stated that Riggins had the burden of proof to show the investigation stopped his promotion. He actually had the burden of proof to show that the rape NEVER HAPPENED. That is how you prove defamation. I wrote that he raped me. He sued me for that statement. He had to prove THAT HE DIDN’T RAPE ME and never did. Yet the jury decided for him anyway.
I believe that everything in my article was ‘provably true’ and was proven true at the trial. Too bad no one bothered to review the data. Perhaps they were star struck with Riggins’ metals and his best friend general who name dropped Gen. Allen and Gen. Petraeus to them. What does a stay at home mother have to compete with that? We don’t get any medals for our work.
Tom Jackman got me to give an interview on the promise that he ‘didn’t want to add stress to my life’ and the promise that he would write a fair, unbiased story. Do you think he did that?