IN HER FIRST INTERVIEW, AN ALLEGED RAPE VICTIM
TELLS "60 MINUTES" THE MILITARY TREATED HER
"LIKE A CRIMINAL" -- SUNDAY ON CBS
The words "zero tolerance" used by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to describe the military's policy on sexual assault ring hollow in the ears of former Lt. Jennifer Dyer. In her first interview, Dyer tells Steve Kroft she was treated like a criminal by the Army after accusing a fellow officer of rape. Dyer's interview will be broadcast on 60 MINUTES Sunday Feb. 20 (7:00-8:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.
"[The Army has] done nothing but lie to me and treat me like a criminal," says Dyer, now out of the Army, which granted her request for an honorable discharge after she spoke to 60 MINUTES. "I don't believe [the zero tolerance policy]. Zero tolerance would mean that I would not have been treated the way I've been treated," she tells Kroft.
Dyer says she reported the rape "within 10 to 15 minutes" and, after emergency medical treatment, was then sequestered for three days without access to a telephone. Instead of offering counseling, Dyer said military investigators doubted her charges and her command seemed indifferent to them. Dyer was granted two weeks convalescent leave and told to report back to Camp Shelby in Mississippi. "I was told that if I didn't return on time, they would send MPs to my door and have me arrested," she tells Kroft. "They stated that two weeks was enough time to recover from such an incident," Dyer says.
But Camp Shelby is where the rape allegedly occurred and the alleged perpetrator still resided. Dyer went absent without leave for two months rather than return to the base. "I was fearful of my health and safety and sanity," says Dyer, a law enforcement officer in civilian life.
The incident occurred last August while Dyer, an eight-year veteran of the New Jersey National Guard, was on active duty at Camp Shelby. She says another lieutenant raped her after a night of drinking at the base's officers club. The accused officer, who is being court-martialed for rape, maintains the sex was consensual. Says Dyer, "I don't feel it's possible to misinterpret 'No, don't do this,' or 'stop.' Those are the words that I used again and again," she tells Kroft.
The Pentagon declined to be interviewed by 60 MINUTES but announced last month, under pressure from Congress, new sweeping policy changes regarding sexual assault. Among them: mandatory education on sexual assault for all armed service members; a victim advocate for every military command; confidentiality for rape victims until formal investigation begins; and a general who will oversee the entire process.