Army colonel awarded $8.4 million for blog defamation case

| August 13, 2017 | 35 Comments

The Washington Post writes about Colonel David “Wil” Riggins who was being considered for his first star in 2013 when Susan Shannon of Everett, Washington accused him of raping her when they were both West Point cadets in 1986 in her blog, Short Little Rebel.

According to the Post, the Army’s Criminal Investigation Division (CID) investigated the case and could find no evidence to support either party. Shannon had resigned from the military academy soon after she contends that the rape took place, but at the time “she denied any sexual assault to West Point officials”. however, a jury decided that it should cost her for posting about the rape on her blog;

Riggins sued Shannon for defamation, claiming that every aspect of her rape claim on the West Point campus was “provably false,” and that she wrote two blog posts and a Facebook post “to intentionally derail [his] promotion” to brigadier general. During a six-day trial that ended Aug. 1, a jury in Fairfax County, Va., heard from both Riggins and Shannon at length. And after 2½ hours of deliberation, they sided emphatically with Riggins, awarding him $8.4 million in damages, an extraordinary amount for a defamation case between two private citizens. The jury ordered Shannon to pay $3.4 million in compensatory damages for injury to his reputation and lost wages, and $5 million in punitive damages, “to make sure nothing like this will ever happen again,” according to one of the jurors.

Colonel Riggins is now retired from the Army after a stellar career, except for the rape allegation and he’s currently a pilot for the FAA. The Army wouldn’t let his nomination for Brigadier General go forward because of the environment in 2013;

Riggins’s nomination for brigadier general was returned to McHugh, the secretary of the Army, who wrote that “I do not have faith and confidence in Colonel Riggins’ judgment and character. Consequently, I do not support his promotion to brigadier general.”

So, Shannon is paying the price.

Thanks to Chief Tango for the link.

Category: Big Army

Comments (35)

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  1. Jay says:

    You know he will never see a dime because it will stall in the appeals process.

  2. 26Limabeans says:

    Well, according to her blog she found Jesus so she has that going for her.

  3. Gravel says:

    Interesting to see that apparently Mrs. Shannon, in my personal opinion, is “crazy as a loon.” She believes that the Newton, Connecticut, shooting involving that whacko Adam Lanza, was a government conspiracy.

    Quoted from the linked article: “She has acknowledged staking out controversial positions on her blog, including that the mass school shooting in Newtown, Conn., was “a planned event” and that “I believe our GOVERNMENT shot those kids and teachers and used Adam Lanza and his family to pull it off.””

  4. IDC SARC says:

    Obviously, that misogynist, white supremacist in the white house has used his power and influence to once again needlessly smear a strong woman to preserve the integrity of his minions. 🙂

  5. USAFRetired says:

    Unless she has some sort of personal liability insurance to pay off the judgement the Colonel doesn’t have much chance of seeing ant money.

  6. The Other Whitey says:

    The false rape accusation not only maligns the one falsely accused, it also unfairly casts doubt on real victims when they come forward, making it easier for real rapists to get away with it. Rapists should hang. False accusers should hang with them.

  7. MSG Eric says:

    At the least, the Colonel has a jury decision clearing his name and laying blame at her feet for causing him so much trouble. As the jury said, “to make sure nothing like this will ever happen again.”

    It will happen again, but hopefully it will deter people from defaming others for their own gain.

    If she isn’t living out of a box under a freeway bridge, she’s got too much money and should give it over to him.

    • Fyrfighter says:

      Very true MSG, though he’ll never get back the pay, both active and retirement that he lost out on by not getting that star.
      As stated above, rapists should hang, and false accusers should hang with them.

  8. Jeff LPH 3, 63-66 says:

    On a lighter note, speaking of West Point, They may have to tear it down or move it since The late General Robert E. Lee was the Super there.

    • MSG Eric says:

      And I’m sure someone will decry that they need to exhume and move all those buried there that fought with the confederate army because “alex fields jr ran over BLM protestors because of them!”

  9. timactual says:

    It’s probably a good thing she resigned from West Point. If she cuts and runs instead of fighting for herself by filing rape charges she will probably do the same under pressure on active duty.
    She denied at the time that any sexual assault took place. Why would she need to do that unless someone (probably her) had claimed a rape took place? Perhaps that was the cause of her resignation.

  10. jdm says:

    How many confederate west point grads and also us military bases.

  11. luddite4change says:

    “I do not have faith and confidence in Colonel Riggins’ judgment and character. Consequently, I do not support his promotion to brigadier general.”

    Can he go after the former Secretary as well? It would have been one thing to just withdraw the nomination, but to besmirch his character in an official government communication strikes me as somewhat false.

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