By Debbie Gregory.
The Army has paid out a $820,000 settlement to a former military police trainee who was allegedly fired after filing a sexual harassment complaint against a supervisor.
Luydmila Starkey received one of the largest settlements ever made by a military branch in a sexual harassment case shortly before going to trial.
Starkey sued Army Secretary John McHugh in Federal Court for discrimination and civil rights and employment violations. Starkey said that her then-supervisor, Sgt. Wayne Lord, sent her sexually explicit text messages and photos of his penis when she was employed at the Presidio of Monterey
She believes she was fired because Lord was popular, and she dared to report him. Lord was allowed to resign without an investigation of any magnitude.
“Rather than support me as the trainee officer that had been continuously harassed, the Army chose to set me up for termination while at the same time finding my harasser a new job without any repercussions for him,” Starkey said in the statement.
Lord, who was not a party to the lawsuit, went to work in a police position for the Department of Defense after the Army was presented with evidence from Starkey’s case.
A spokesman said the Army regrets what happened.
Starkey said she will never be able to work in law enforcement again because of the case.
“I only hope that my coming forward helps other women and the culture at the Army of silence and retaliation will change,” Starkey said.
Thousands of veterans have claimed that the Army blew off their complaints of military sexual harassment and rape, and denied or delayed treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder because of it.
Until those who perpetrate this behavior are held accountable, the problem will continue.