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November 11, 1996 - Image 2

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The Michigan Daily, 1996-11-11

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2A - The Michigan Daily - Monday, November 11, 1996

NATION/WORLD
Mmy sex charges spark controversy

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few complaints flood
Army sexual abuse
hotline
The Washington Post
ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND,
Md. - The phones began to ring
about 4 p.m. Thursday, as soon as the
Army announced rape and sexual
harassment charges against three mili-
tary trainers here and broadcast a toll-
free hot line for alleged victims to
report abuse.
The calls came in waves, cresting
with each television news report dis-
playing the number. By 4 yesterday
afternoon, 1,697 people had called the
hot line, and Army officials said they
were still analyzing the calls for pat-
terns.
The calls - most from people
expressing an opinion, but about 100
making new complaints deemed credi-

ble - showed that the widening inves-
tigation at this sprawling facility north
of Baltimore hit a public nerve. Army
officials have charged three instructors,
including a company commander, with
acts from adultery to rape. Four young
women under the instructors' supervi-
sion were raped and several others were
forcibly sodomized and sexually
assaulted, Army documents allege. Two
other sergeants face nonjudicial punish-
ment for lesser infractions.
Fifteen other soldiers, both officers
and enlisted men, have been suspended
and are under investigation for possible
misconduct ranging from illegal frater-
nization to rape.
About half the credible new com-
plaints - 48 - related to Aberdeen.
The others came from female soldiers
across the country, some reporting
allegedly incidents overseas. Women
have reported everything from verbal
abuse to offensive touching to sexual

assault and rape. Most complaints
allege incidents that took place in the
last five years, but some date back 10,
20 and even 30 years.
"We had people calling in from all
over," said Capt. Lee Merritt, 32, one of
more than a dozen officers assigned to
answer the phones. "We've even had a
few calls about the Navy and the Air
Force."
Merritt and the others work in 20-
by-20-foot classroom in a training
facility here, equipped with 13 phones
and a blackboard with a call count.
(The hot line number is 1-800-903-
4241.)
If the caller reports an incident,
Merritt jots down the basic information
and transfers the call to one of the four
military investigators in the room.
"Most of them don't get emotional.
They're matter-of-fact, just saying this
has happened to me. They call in and
give the facts," Merritt said.
The investigators spend 30 minutes
to an hour interviewing the caller.
Sometimes, Merritt said, the hotline has
been so busy that all four investigators
are on the phone when a new incident
report comes in. Although initial inter-
views are done at Aberdeen, more com-
plete investigations of allegations
involving other facilities will be con-

ducted at those installations.
"Most of them are strong," Merritt
said. "When they call, you can tell that
most of them thought quite a bit about
it before they called. They're ready to
go on record.
"I thank them for coming forward
and tell them it's a tough thing to do.
The easy thing to do is to do nothing.
"It's very businesslike," he added.
Merritt has handled hundreds of calls.
When he goes home, they haunt him.
"Normally, I can jump into bed and
I'm asleep as soon as the lights go out,"
he said. "But now, you sit there thinking
about some of these individuals."
One woman told him she had been
sexually assaulted. She said that she had
reported the incident to police but that
nothing ever happened.
"It's kind of tough, these people
telling you these things," Merritt said.
"You start thinking about all this, and
some of these calls do affect you."
Merritt has been in the Army 11
years and served in the Persian Gulf
War. "It's definitely opened my eyes,"
he said. "You know its a problem, and
you know it's out there, but now I can
relate it to myself. Now it's personal.
People have told you about it, and
that's different than reading about it in
the paper."

Rep. says Gingrich should resign
WASHINGTON - Rep. Steve Largent, a member of Newt Gingrich's loyal
supporters from the 1994 class of House newcomers, recommended yesterday that
Gingrich give up his speaker's seat until ethics charges against him are resolved.
"I think it is a good idea," Largent (R-Okla.) responded when asked on "Fox
News Sunday" about a proposal that Gingrich turn his job over to Judici
Committee Chair Rep. Henry Hyde (R-1ll.) while the ethics charges are penei
The idea reportedly is suggested in the next issue of the conservative journal
"National Review."
"I think it would reduce the amount of rhetoric that we would hear on the floor
for the 105th Congress and allow us to work more constructively and move for-
ward," Largent said.
Asked if others in Congress shared his view, Largent said, "I think behind closed
doors there would be, but publicly people are maybe fearful to say that on nation-
al TV"
Appearing later on the same program, Ralph Reed of the Christian Coalition
said a scenario where Gingrich (R-Ga.) stepped aside was unlikely. "The House
members that I have talked to have indicated that unless and until the ethics c(
mittee comes forth with formal charges, that Newt Gingrich is innocent until
proven guilty," Reed said.

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10 Openings Available
In the Canadian House of Commons
with Members of Parliament
May 6 - June 20, 1997
Six Weeks+ (47 Days)
Invites Students
To Two Information Meetings
on Tuesday, November 12
6 to 8 p.m. Political Science Lounge
6th floor Haven Hal
and
on Wednesday, November 13
6 to 8 p.m. Political Science Lounge
6th floor haven Hall
For application and interview contact:
Dr. helen M. Graves, Emerita
Associate Professor, Political Science

The Office of Academic Multicultural Initiatives
is now accepting applications for
Student Program Host
positions for the King/Chivez/Parks
College Day Spring Visitation Program
Student Program Hosts assist in the supervision of
student leaders who accompany visiting middle
school students on a one-day visit to campus.
In addition, they coordinate work schedules.
Program Hosts must be team players and have a
keen interest in working with younger students.
Applications and job descriptions can be obtained at
The Office of Academic Multicultural Initiatives
1042 Fleming Building, first floor.
For additional information contact
Onis Cheathams at 936-1055

Man may have tried
to kill daughters for
insurance money
WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. - Pushing his
deaf daughter into traffic. Handing his 4-
year-old a high-voltage wire. Hiring hit
men to murder his only brother.
Prosecutors say David Crist, 38,
committed these crimes against his own
blood for a base reason: greed.
He collected $133,000 from a life
insurance policy in his brother's 1982
death and stood to gain $200,000 if his
two young daughters hadn't survived.
As a precaution, authorities also
reopened investigations into the deaths
of his father in 1968, his mother's
fiance in 1976 and his mother in 1981,
although no charges have resulted.
Jury selection opens tomorrow for
Crist's trial in the 1993 attempted murder
of his deaf daughter, Diane. When she
was 9, prosecutors allege, Crist hired a
woman to run over the child with a car,
but the driver swerved at the last instant.
After this trial, another jury will decide
whether Crist tried to electrocute his

younger daughter, Miranda Jo, in 1990.
Then he goes to Maryland, where he is
accused of killing his brother Scott Crist.
Prosecutors will seek the death penalty.
More women takin.
up cigar-pig
WASHINGTON - When Shelly
Harris wanted to improve her putting
game, she didn't hire an instructor:pr
play more rounds. She stuck a cigar in
her mouth - you know, the way guys
do - and putted.
It worked, Harris said. "I think it'sdn
interesting phenomenon," she said.
"Maybe in your mind you believe
have more power."
After that first cigar on a golf course,
the salesperson has two more stogies.
She plans to go on puffing even though
she hasn't quite mastered "gracefully
spitting the stuff you get in your mouth;"
An estimated 10 million Americans
- 2 percent of them women - have,
like Harris, tossed aside health con-
cerns and political correctness and
taken up the stogie.

_ '''

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Ann Arbor, MI 48105-2307
Phone: (313) 994-5563
FAX: (313) 994-0532

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W I

Colombian govt.
looks to toughen
laws on drugs
BOGOTA, Colombia - President
Ernesto Samper's embattled government,
seeking to polish its image and improve
relations with Washington, has vowed to
stiffen sentences for drug traffickers,
seize more of their assets and allow their
extradition to the United States.
But even if Samper shows new-found
political will to get tough with drug
traffickers here, who provide 80 per-
cent of the world's cocaine and increas-
ing amounts of its heroin, they have
made it clear they are still willing to
fight such efforts the old-fashioned way
- through terrorism and threats.
The three measures are at the top of a
list of demands the United States has
said Samper must meet if he hopes to
reestablish a working relationship with
the Clinton administration, according
to U.S. and Colombian officials.
Relations have deteriorated sharply
since the United States concluded that

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Samper took $6 million from traff j-
ers for his 1994 presidential campaign.
Washington has revoked his visa and
"decertified" Colombia for not cooper-
ating in the fight against drugs.
Pet owners oppose
strict quarantines
LONDON - Hong Kong GOv.
Chris Patten may turn over Britaij's
prized colony to China with equanimi-
ty next year, but he will not surrender
Whisky and Soda to authorities - k
home without protest.
"Preposterous," rails Patten at sA1
British quarantine laws that require him
to send his two Norfolk terriers intosix
months' solitary confinement when
they return to England.
As never before, animal rights,
xenophobia and public health
intersect in narrow cages where
family pets from abroad must prove
that they do not have rabies before
being allowed into the country,
- Compiledfrom Daily wire repoAs

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