Highlights of Army National Guard Lt. Col. Teresa James’ Military Sexual Assault and DoD IG Substantiated Retaliation Case

Lt Col Teresa James

Lt Col Teresa James

Lt Col Teresa James had a stellar career in the Army National Guard for over 30 years until she reported being sexually assaulted by a senior officer. Shortly after reporting the crime, she took convalescent leave for 30 days to seek medical treatment and eventually was medically retired because “she refused to come into work” according to leadership in the West Virginia Army National Guard. Lt Col James states that she asked for an extension to her convalescent leave (while continuing to seek medical treatment) or to work at an alternate location away from those who were retaliating against her. She did not want to retire and fought the forced medical retirement process but lost those appeals. She is now speaking up about the sexual assault and retaliation she experienced after reporting the assault.  This case is a good example of the complications associated with the expedited transfer policy and how it is applies to the National Guard when both the accused and the victim are permanently stationed at the same location.

In May 2016, news broke that the Department of Defense Inspector General found that a brigadier general in the West Virginia Army National Guard did in fact retaliate against Lt Col James after she reported that she had been sexually assaulted by another officer. This is the first time that the DoD IG has confirmed a report of retaliation in the military. This case highlights the need for coordinated reform on the part of the Chief, the National Guard Bureau, and all of the state National Guard headquarters. The federal government does not have jurisdiction over the States therefore only the Governor and State Congressional members have authority to enact new laws for the National Guard. The National Guard must enact it’s own policies. The DoD IG has no jurisdiction over the West Virginia Army National Guard therefore cannot court martial or admonish the individuals involved. Lt Col James is focusing on ensuring that all State’s enact legislation to protect their National Guard members.

“My whole reason for speaking out is to educate other survivors,” she said,“ ‘That you are not alone. There are people out there that will help you, and that the best thing to do if you are assaulted is report it.’” (via Charleston Gazette-Mail)

Related Links:
Lt. col. says speaking up about assault hurt her career
Serving in Silence: Rape in the National Guard
Troops who report sexual assault face retaliation
Retiring National Guard officer: Leadership should have done more in sexual assault case
62 Percent of Military Sex Assault Reports Result in Retaliation (A Taste of Creole)
62 Percent of Military Sex Assault Reports Result in Retaliation (NBC Washington)
US: Military Whistleblowers At Risk, Retaliation for Reporting Sexual Assault
WVNG Sexual Assault Claims; Female Officer: Leaders Didn’t Act Fast Enough against Superior
Reporting and Law Enforcement Facts For LTC Teresa James, West Virginia National Guard
Reporting and Law Enforcement Facts For LTC Teresa James, West Virginia National Guard 2
One-star general retaliated against LTC sex assault victim, IG finds
First time: IG confirms retaliation against rape whistleblower
Lt. col. says speaking up about assault hurt her career
IG: Rape whistleblower saw retaliation
DOD report: WV National Guard general retaliated against assault victim
Lt Col Teresa James Shares Experience with Sexual Assault & Reprisal at DoD IG Worldwide Hotline Outreach Conference
DoD substantiates its first-ever sexual assault reprisal case, but victim still waiting for relief
Serving in Silence: Sex Assault Retaliation Complaints Investigated
Retired officer tells of sexual assault, retaliation in WV National Guard
New DOD investigative unit to focus on sexual assault-related reprisals
Military Sexual-Assault Victim Tells Her Story to Social Workers Conference

Lauterbach Case Prompts Policy Reforms for Victims of Sexual Assault in the Military (December 25, 2011)

Maria Lauterbach

LCpl. Maria Lauterbach, U.S. Marine Corps

The family of slain Marine Lance Cpl. Maria Lauterbach is hailing recent provisions in the National Defense Authorization Act that profoundly change the way the Department of Defense will handle sexual assault charges.

The Defense STRONG Act has cleared both the House and the Senate and is awaiting President Barack Obama’s signature. Provisions include access to legal counsel for victims and the right to request a base transfer.

Lauterbach’s mother, Mary Lauterbach of Vandalia, said the new law would have made the difference in the case of her daughter, who was denied a base transfer after accusing fellow Marine Cesar Laurean of sexual assault. “Maria would be alive today if the base transfer had been available to her,” she said.

Turner concurred, “In civilian life you have complete control of your movements, and if you’re in an unsafe situation you can remove yourself. In military life, the victim needs permission to take even basic self-preservation actions.”

In the News:

New provisions handed down from the Department of Defense are giving sexual assault victims in the military rights they never had before. It’s all thanks to the fight from Congressman Mike Turner and a local mother Mary Lauterbach. The provisions make certain that a victim has legal counsel throughout the whole process so they understand what their legal rights are and how to protect themselves. The provisions also remove the accused from the situation and not the victim. -WKEF/WRGT (August 15, 2013)

A major hurdle cleared for sexual assault victims in the military. Congress passed a bill that would give victims rights and protection they never had before. The push came after the tragic murder of local marine Maria Lauterbach and her unborn son. Congress approved a bill that would give military sexual assault victims legal counsel and criminalize retaliation against any victim. “If Maria had had this, she would be alive today, it’s very important.” The bill now heads to President Barack Obama for his signature. -WKEF/WRGT (December 20, 2013)

Law protecting military victims of sexual assault discussed. -WDTN-TV (May 1, 2018)

Key changes in military policy

  • By executive order, communication between victims and victim advocates will now be privileged. Previously conversations between victim and victim advocates can be subpoenaed in court, making victims reluctant to come forward. Pending legislation HR 1540, passed by both the House and Senate, provides for:
  • Legal assistance for victims of sexual assault. Previously, only defendants in the military have been guaranteed access to a lawyer.
  • Stricter training guidelines and greater oversight for Sexual Assault Response Coordinators and Sexual Assault Victim Advocates.
  • Retention of sexual assault records with lifetime access for service members.
  • The victim’s right to a base transfer or unit transfer. Under the new law, these requests will be expedited, with decisions being made within 72 hours and the bias should be in favor of the victim.

Read more here.

HOR Oversight Subcommittee on National Security & Foreign Affairs Held a Hearing on Sexual Assault in the Military (July 31, 2008)

The Oversight Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs holds a hearing, “Sexual Assault in the Military.” Here Subcommittee Chairman John Tierney gives opening remarks. -Nancy Pelosi

The Oversight Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs holds a hearing, “Sexual Assault in the Military.” Panel one is Reps. Louise Slaughter (NY-28) and Jane Harman (CA-36). -Nancy Pelosi


The Oversight Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs holds a hearing, “Sexual Assault in the Military.” Panel one is Reps. Louise Slaughter (NY-28) and Jane Harman (CA-36). -Nancy Pelosi

The Oversight Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs holds a hearing, “Sexual Assault in the Military.” Panel two is Ingrid Torres, MSW, CSW and Mary Lauterbach, Mother of Lance Cpl. Maria Lauterbach. -Nancy Pelosi

The Oversight Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs holds a hearing, “Sexual Assault in the Military.” Panel two is Ingrid Torres, MSW, CSW and Mary Lauterbach, Mother of Lance Cpl. Maria Lauterbach. -Nancy Pelosi

The Oversight Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs holds a hearing, “Sexual Assault in the Military.” Panel three includes representatives of the Defense Department, the Army, and the GAO. -Nancy Pelosi

***********************************************************

In the News:

The Other PTSD – Sexual Abuse of Women in the Military -NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams (May 4, 2007)

Congress takes on the Department of Defense in the first oversight hearing held this year by the subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs on sexual assault in the military. Some House members are accusing the DOD of a cover up. -American News Project (August 2, 2008)

According to recent GAO survey, a female soldier is more likely to be raped by a fellow soldier than die by enemy fire in Iraq. David Martin reports on this startling increase. -CBS Evening News (October 28, 2008)

MST: Military Sexual Trauma -CBS Evening News (October 28, 2008)

Katie Couric investigates an alarming trend in the U.S. military, as more and more female soldiers have come forward with tales of sexual abuse at the hands of male soldiers and superior officers. -CBS News (March 17, 2009)

Women and men from all branches of the US military spoke out in Washington Tuesday about sexual assault in the ranks. They were all military sexual assault survivors — appearing at a summit held to call attention to the issue. The US military has announced new efforts to combat these crimes. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti brings us the issue through the eyes of two women, both survivors of alleged sexual attacks. -VOA News (May 8, 2012)

DAYTON – The military is fighting another battle, an “invisible war” on sexual assault. Today, Congressman Mike Turner talked about an award-winning documentary that sheds light on that very topic. -WKEF/WRGT (September 5, 2012)

New provisions handed down from the Department of Defense are giving sexual assault victims in the military rights they never had before.It’s all thanks to the fight from Congressman Mike Turner and a local mother. -WKEF/WRGT (August 15, 2013)

A major hurdle cleared for sexual assault victims in the military.Congress passed a bill that would give victims rights and protection they never had before.The push came after the tragic murder of local marine Maria Lauterbach and her unborn son.Maria’s mother, Mary, was thrilled when she heard the news that the bill had passed the Senate. -WKEFandWRGT (December 20, 2013)

Sexual assault in the military is being reported more and more everyday.But our military is now learning how to protect themselves and teaching civilians the same thing. -WKEF/WRGT (March 10, 2014)

DAYTON — Today, Congressman Michael Turner (R-OH), Chairman of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Tactical Air and Land Forces, hosted Congresswoman Niki Tsongas (D-MA), at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. Turner says he and Tsongas have worked together since 2007 to eliminate sexual assault from the U.S. military. Bother co-chair the Military Sexual Assault Prevention Caucus. -WKEF/WRGT (September 9, 2014)

It is Sexual Assault Awareness Month and Congressman Mike Turner was in town to talk about ways to cut down on sex assault in the military. Turner led a meeting with top brass from Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and Wright State University in hopes of continuing open conversations about the issue. The objective is to educate everyone on how to prevent sexual assaults from happening in the first place. -WKEF/WRGT (April 21, 2015)

Law protecting military victims of sexual assault discussed -WDTN TV (May 1, 2018)

Congressman Mike Turner changed the laws to make women serving in the military safer. -Mike Turner (August 20, 2018)

Video Links:
The Other PTSD – Sexual Abuse of Women in the Military | NBC Nightly News
Hearing on Sexual Assault in the Military – Tierney Opening
Hearing on Sexual Assault in the Military – Rep. Harman
Hearing on Sexual Assault in the Military – Rep. Slaughter
Hearing on Sexual Assault in the Military – Torres
Hearing on Sexual Assault in the Military – Lauterbach
Hearing on Sexual Assault in the Military – Contempt for DOD
Rape in the Military: Congress Charges Cover-Up
Harassment In The Military | CBS News
MST: Military Sexual Trauma | CBS News
Sex Abuse And Female Soldiers | CBS News
Military Sexual Assault Victims Heal, Discuss Policy
DAI Offers Screening of Documentary on Sexual Assault in Military
Dept. of Defense Gives New Provisions to Military’s Victims of Sexual Assault
Major Hurdle Cleared for Victims of Sexual Assault in the Military
Defense Against Sexual Assault Class for WPAFB and Wright State University
Reps. Turner, Tsongas Talk Sexual Assault
Military Sexual Assault Awareness Month
Law protecting military victims of sexual assault discussed
Mary Lauterbach | Representative Mike Turner (Ohio)

Related Links:
Camp Lejeune Marine Maria Lauterbach & Unborn Child Murdered, Remains Discovered in Fellow Marine’s Backyard; Cesar Laurean Sentenced to Life in Prison, No Parole (December 15, 2007)
Lauterbach’s family questions handling of case
Rep. Mike Turner: Marine Corps Response Shows Lack Of Urgency For Maria Lauterbach
The hunt for the missing Marine | Dateline NBC
Raping America’s female soldiers
Mary Lauterbach To Testify At Congressional Hearing
HOR Sexual Assault in the Military Hearings (July 31, 2008)
Oversight Hearing on Sexual Assault in the Military | Nancy Pelosi
House panel blasts DOD over response to sexual assault claims
Sex Assaults Against Women in Military ‘Epidemic’
Sexual assault in military ‘jaw-dropping,’ lawmaker says
Tierney Holds Hearing on Sex Assault in Military
Tierney’s subcommittee looking into sexual assaults in the military
Sexual Assault in the Military: A DoD Cover-Up?
Rape in the military: Congress charges cover-up
Rep. Turner Demands Answers from DoD on Status of Maria Lauterbach Investigation
Front and Center: Sexual Violence in U.S. Military Law | Elizabeth L. Hillman (2009)
Laurean convicted in pregnant Marine’s death
Camp Lejeune’s Statement
Mike Turner’s Military Sexual Assault Protections Approved by House Armed Services Committee
Did the Marines Leave Two Bodies on the Field?*
Mary Lauterbach leads training sessions on sexual assault cases
Sexual Assault in the Military Part IV: Are We Making Progress?
Review of Matters Related to the Sexual Assault of Lance Corporal Maria Lauterbach, U.S. Marine Corps | DoD IG (October 18, 2011)
Carry That Weight: Victim Privacy Within the Military Sexual Assault Reporting Methods, 28 J. Marshall Computer & Info. L. 551 (2011)
Bureaucracy has blossomed in military’s war on rape
At summit, sexual assault survivors share trauma, seek change
‘A Marine’s Story’ highlights importance of preventing sexual assault
Sexual Assault in the Military: Ethical Dilemma or National Security Issue? | Georgetown University (2012)
STATE of North Carolina v. Ceasar Armando LAUREAN (May 1, 2012)
Continuing to Battle Sexual Assault within the Ranks of Our Military
Ohio congressman’s bill ensures punishment for sexual assaults in military
Lawmakers outraged over sexual assault case aim to change military justice system
Department of Defense Annual Report on Sexual Assault in the Military (2013)
For Tsongas and GOP colleague, a long fight on military sexual assault
Marine mother shares tragic story of daughter’s sexual assault, murder
Recalling the case that changed military sex assault laws
Mother of slain local Marine Maria Lauterbach to be honored for ‘survivorship, resilience’
Focus on Military Sexual Assault Continues in House
Sexual Assault in the Military | Quantum Units Education
A farewell to arms: Misogyny wrapped in camouflage
No Place in the Military: The Judiciary’s Failure to Compensate Victims of Military Sexual Assault and a Suggested Path Forward Using Lessons from the Prison Context
The Politics of Sex Abuse in Sacred Hierarchies: a Comparative Study of the Catholic Church and the Military in the United States 1
􏰀􏰁􏰂􏰃􏰄􏰅 􏰇

Camp Lejeune Marine Maria Lauterbach & Unborn Child Murdered, Remains Discovered in Fellow Marine’s Backyard; Cesar Laurean Sentenced to Life in Prison, No Parole (December 15, 2007)

LCpl Maria Lauterbach, USMC (2007)

Maria Lauterbach, US Marine Corps

The family of slain Marine Lance Cpl. Maria Lauterbach is hailing recent provisions in the National Defense Authorization Act that profoundly change the way the Department of Defense will handle sexual assault charges…Provisions include access to legal counsel for victims and the right to request a base transfer. Lauterbach’s mother, Mary Lauterbach of Vandalia, said the new law would have made the difference in the case of her daughter, who was denied a base transfer after accusing fellow Marine Cesar Laurean of sexual assault. “Maria would be alive today if the base transfer had been available to her,” she said. Representative Mike Turner (R-OH) concurred, “In civilian life you have complete control of your movements, and if you’re in an unsafe situation you can remove yourself. In military life, the victim needs permission to take even basic self-preservation actions.” –Dayton Daily News (December 25, 2011)

In the News:

The murder of pregnant Camp Lejeune Marine Maria Lauterbach has many people examining North Carolina’s fetal homicide law. North Carolina is one of twelve states that does not have an unborn child homicide law. Cesar Laurean, the Marine Corporal suspected of killing Lauterbach, only faces a murder charge in her death, not the death of the fetus. Henderson County state representative Trudi Walend proposed House Bill 263 to change that. Walend believes our state leaders have a fear that recognizing an unborn child might affects pro choice laws. -WITN-TV (January 15, 2008)

The autopsy shows that 20 year old Maria Lauterbach, who disappeared mid-December in North Carolina died from blunt force trauma. The sheriff says the autopsy also shows that Lauterbach died before her family reported her missing. -Associated Press (January 16, 2008)

Maria Lauterbach Case – Autopsy Confirms Body Is Lauterbach -WITN-TV (January 16, 2008)

Authorities say murder suspect Cesar Laurean has probably gone into hiding. His truck was found in a motel parking lot on Tuesday. An autopsy report confirmed burned remains found in his backyard were those of his pregnant colleague. -Associated Press (January 17, 2008)

Pregnant Marine’s mom laments her death -Today Show (March 12, 2008)

Missing Marine’s Uncle Speaks Out -ABC News (March 12, 2008)

The Oversight Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs holds a hearing, “Sexual Assault in the Military.” Panel one is Reps. Louise Slaughter (NY-28) and Jane Harman (CA-36); panel two is Ingrid Torres, MSW, CSW and Mary Lauterbach, Mother of Lance Cpl. Maria Lauterbach; panel three includes representatives of the Defense Department, the Army, and the GAO. Mary Lauterbach, whose daughter was murdered after reporting a rape, testifies. -Nancy Pelosi (July 31, 2008)

A Marine who fled to Mexico shortly before he was charged with killing a pregnant colleague in North Carolina has been returned to the U.S., according to an FBI spokeswoman. -Associated Press (April 17, 2009)

Lauterbach murder trial to begin -WDTNTV (August 2, 2010)

The attorney for an ex-Marine accused of killing a pregnant colleague says the victim’s lies may have so angered the defendant he couldn’t have premeditated the murder. -Associated Press (August 12, 2010)

A North Carolina jury says a former Marine is guilty of first-degree murder in the death of a pregnant colleague whose remains were found under a backyard firepit. -WITN (August 24, 2010)

Dept. of Defense Gives New Provisions to Military’s Victims of Sexual Assault -WKEF/WRGT (August 15, 2013)

Major Hurdle Cleared for Victims of Sexual Assault in the Military -WKEF/WRGT (December 20, 2013)

Law protecting military victims of sexual assault discussed | Expedited transfer policy includes provisions for victims of domestic violence -WDTN TV (May 1, 2018)

Investigation Discovery:

Cesar and Christina Laurean’s Marine marriage ranks perfection, but when Lance Corporal Maria Lauterbach, joins the regiment, disaster strikes. -Burned by Desire, Deadly Affairs (S3,E3)

Video Links:
Maria Lauterbach Case – Search for the Body 1/14/2008
Maria Lauterbach Case – Search for Laurean 1/14/2008
Maria Lauterbach Case – Body Recovered 1/14/2008
Maria Lauterbach Case – Changing NC Fetal Homicide Law 1/15/2008
Maria Lauterbach Case – National Billboards Going Up 1/15/2008
Maria Lauterbach Case – Laurean’s Truck Found Near Raleigh 1/16/2008
Maria Lauterbach Case – Autopsy Confirms Body Is Lauterbach 1/16/2008
D.A.: ‘Marine Killed by Blunt Force Trauma’ 1/16/2008
Marine Accused of Murder Still at Large 1/17/2008
Media Puts Spotlight on Case of Missing Marine 1/18/2008
Laurean’s Wife Delayed Talking to Cops About Murder 1/21/2008
Maria Lauterbach Case – Laurean on America’s Most Wanted 1/21/2008
Congressman Asks Mexico For Help In Catching Laurean 1/21/2008
Photos Go Inside Marine Murder Suspect’s Home 1/22/2008
Maria Lauterbach Case – More Photos and Videos Released 1/29/2008
Mexico Issues Arrest Warrant for Marine 1/29/2008
Latest on Missing Marine wanted over pregnant woman’s death
Fetal Homicide Law In NC 2/1/2008
Pregnant Marine’s mom laments her death 3/12/2008
Missing Marine’s Uncle Speaks Out 3/12/2008
Residents of village where Cesar Laurean was hiding talk about the Marine 4/10/2008
Marine’s extradition process under way 4/11/2008
Suspect in killing of pregnant Marine in custody, state attorney presser
Email From Cesar Laurean 4/14/2008
Hearing on Sexual Assault in the Military – Tierney Opening 7/31/2008
Hearing on Sexual Assault in the Military – Lauterbach 7/31/2008
Hearing on Sexual Assault in the Military – Rep. Slaughter 7/31/2008
Hearing on Sexual Assault in the Military – Rep. Harman 7/31/2008
Hearing on Sexual Assault in the Military – Contempt for DOD 7/31/2008
Prosecutor’s Intern Arrested, Slain Marine Case 8/15/2008
Marine Charged in Slaying Fighting Extradition 10/14/2008
Marine Returned to NC to Face Murder Charge 4/17/2009
Laurean Not Father of Lauterbach Baby 5/15/2009
Lauterbach murder trial to begin 8/2/2010
Lawyer: Ex-Marine Didn’t Plan to Kill Colleague 8/12/2010
Cesar Laurean Guilty Of Murder 8/24/2010
Dept. of Defense Gives New Provisions to Military’s Victims of Sexual Assault 8/15/2013
Major Hurdle Cleared for Victims of Sexual Assault in the Military 12/20/2013
Law protecting military victims of sexual assault discussed 5/1/2018
Carnal Appetite | Deadly Sins | Investigation Discovery (S1,E1)
Burned by Desire | Deadly Affairs | Investigation Discovery (S3,E3)

Related Links:
Obituary: Maria and Gabriel Lauterbach
Disappearance of Pregnant Marine Probed by North Carolina Authorities
Pregnant Marine missing from North Carolina base
Search for Pregnant Marine Intensifies
Adult, fetus found in shallow grave may be missing Marine
Blood, possible grave of pregnant Marine found at suspect’s house
Scenes From a Pregnant Marine’s Murder
Initial autopsy findings on slain Marine: Fetus not born alive
Grand jury indicts fugitive Marine in woman’s death
Remains of Adult Found; Marine Charged
Military: Slain Marine said she was not afraid of suspect
Pregnant Marine’s mom laments her death
N.C. Investigators Issue Warrant in ‘Disgusting’ Murder of Pregnant Marine
Police Confirm Truck Found in Hotel Parking Lot Belongs to Marine on the Run
Suspect in Slaying of Pregnant Marine Spotted
Marine on the Lam Spotted in Louisiana
Murdered Marine Suspect Spotted in Louisiana, May Be Headed to Texas
No ‘confirmed sightings’ of suspect in Marine’s killing
Mexico issues warrant for Laurean a week after sighting
Sheriff: Missing Pregnant Marine Is Dead, Corporal She Accused of Raping Her Named Suspect
Suspect: Pregnant Marine Killed Herself
Congressman Mike Turner Calls on DOD to Investigate Marines’ Handling of Rape and Murder Case of Maria Lauterbach
Lauterbach’s mother will see Laurean for 1st time at trial
Lauterbach ‘compulsive liar’ at times, mom says
Marines: Lauterbach was known liar
Laurean convicted in pregnant Marine’s death
Laurean guilty of Marine’s murder
Cesar Laurean Guilty of Murder of Pregnant Marine Maria Lauterbach
Former Marine Cesar Laurean Found Guilty of Pregnant Colleague Murder
Ex-Marine Guilty of Killing Pregnant Colleague Found Buried in Firepit
Ex-Marine convicted of killing colleague feels wrath of victim’s mom
Cesar Laurean Moved To Central Prison After Guilty Verdict
Wife of pregnant Marine’s killer won’t be charged
Lauterbach gives voice to slain daughter, works to change sexual assault law
DoD IG: Review of Matters Related to the Sexual Assault of Lance Corporal Maria Lauterbach, U.S. Marine Corps (Redacted)
Lauterbach Sexual Assault Case Prompts Policy Reforms in Military
The Tragic Case of Maria Lauterbach
Marine mother shares tragic story of daughter’s sexual assault, murder
Tribute to Maria (YouTube)