Students Say They Considered Suicide After Military Academy Leaders Failed to Act on Rape Incidents

Betrayal of Trust? Allegations of Rape at West Point, Annapolis

Of 65 sexual assaults reported to service academy leaders in academic year 2011, only one resulted in criminal prosecution court documents show

by Kyra Phillips and Jessi Joseph
CNN, April 22, 2012

(CNN) — Karley Marquet and Annie Kendzior said they enrolled at two of the nation’s most prestigious military academies to serve their country and become military officers. Instead, they claim, they were raped — and their military careers are now over.

Karley Marquet and Annie Kendzior have filed a federal lawsuit against the military claiming the services have failed to act on incidents involving rape and sexual assault. Both women reported they were raped while attending their academy and leaders failed to prosecute their perpetrators.

In a lawsuit filed in U.S. Federal Court on Friday, the women claim the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, New York, and the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, ignored “rampant sexual harassment.”

The suit claims former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, the former superintendents of the two academies and the current secretaries of the Army and Navy are “personally responsible” for failing to “prevent rapes and sexual assaults at the Naval Academy and West Point.”

Karley Marquet was a high school honor student, championship swimmer and all-star rugby player. She could have gone to college anywhere with her credentials, but Marquet chose West Point.

“When I was accepted, it was kind of overwhelming,” she says. “You can’t imagine having that structure and discipline but at the same time having people look at you like, ‘Wow, you’re doing something great for our country.'”

But Marquet said her dream of becoming an officer was shattered in January 2011, her second semester at West Point.

Marquet said she got sick over a holiday weekend and stayed behind on campus. Her roommate was out of town and she was alone in her room.

It was then, Marquet, said, that an upperclassman she knew showed up at her door late one night to talk “girl troubles.”

“I kind of felt cool that an upperclassman wanted to be friends with me and was seeking my advice,” Marquet recalls.

After a drink, Marquet said, he persuaded her to go to his room.

“I just remember getting more and more intoxicated and my judgment really started to become impaired. … I remember him turning off the lights and me asking, ‘What are you doing?’ And then he proceeded to rape me.”

Marquet said she woke up disoriented, in physical pain, afraid to come forward.

“I was scared it was going to ruin my career,” she said, “I was scared if I said anything, there would constantly be a target on my back.”

According to the lawsuit, Marquet became depressed and suicidal “as a result of the rape and hostile environment” at West Point.

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Read the complaint filed in district court:


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