Washington Post Article Major Errors
The W.P. article made yet another ERROR when it said, “Shannon also cooperated with the CID investigation, which could not “prove or disprove Ms. Shannon’s allegation she was raped.” NOT TRUE. The CID verdict said that NEITHER of our testimonies could be proven or disproven. That means they could not find sufficient evidence to BELIEVE Riggins’ bogus statements about our alleged ‘consensual’ sex in 1983 during freshman year. Shame on #TomJackman of the #WashingtonPost for skewing his article so firmly against me.
Indeed, the evidence they, themselves collected proved that Riggins’ story was full of problems. In my opinion, the CID and the Army chose to not move forward with a prosecution of Riggins based on the solid evidence they had about the entire situation. Based on any good investigators’ procedures, they should have followed up with him concerning Richard Muscheck, with whom I actually went home that Halloween night- who gave testimony to confirm everything I said about that night- even about the poison ivy we both got that night. Riggins claimed that he and I had ‘consensual sex’ once, at a Halloween party in 1983 at a company sponsored party. This was his big mistake; he should not have picked that particular day to lie about because I walked home with another cadet and I remember everything about it. That cadet became a colonel named Richard Muscheck who was also from company B-1. We danced together and spent almost all the time together. We got onto the Army transport truck together for the ride home (Riggins lied and said that West Point allowed a drunk plebe (him) to drive four drunk plebes home, implying that he could park his car on post- all against regs and impossible to anyone who knows West Point in those days), kissed madly in the truck and then were let off the truck to walk the rest of the way home. Muscheck testified to all of this in court, which confirmed my story. Riggins brought a map to court in an attempt to say that there was no other route to the barracks for a truck to drive except main roads which would drive us to the Apron- but this isn’t so. The truck drove us to Ho-Chi-Min trail head which is behind Company D-1, where there is a dirt road AND a turn about for the truck. The Ho-Chi-Min trail is a short trail to the barracks and is well known for the vast quantities of poison ivy along the side! The CID had all these facts and did NOTHING to investigate them further.
The CID also knew that I confronted Riggins with the rape in 2009 on Facebook and Twitter in public, which Riggins admits happened. Riggins chose to delete his social media accounts, hide my several public accusations from his Army superiors and never even confront me publicly or privately about it. While Riggins denies that he ever deleted his accounts, the Army CID didn’t subpoena Facebook for that information, which they could have done. At the minimum, they knew that he, a high ranking Army officer, didn’t report my 2009 public social media accusations to his commanding officers even though he knew the sensitivity of the political situation: ie, Congress was threatening to take rape prosecution away from the Army because of their poor rates of prosecution. Why would he hide that from his superiors if he was innocent? Why not confront me and tell me to stop and desist with my accusations? Why not hire an attorney back then to stop my public accusations?
But the CID did not follow through with any of these questions or witness testimonies with Riggins even though his story, which no witnesses could confirm, were so at odds with witness testimony that confirmed my account. To make matters even more ridiculous, Riggins claimed that I ‘made up’ the entire rape story the moment I saw that he was about to be promoted which supposedly happened when I read the Stars and Stripes newspaper article in 2014.) He further alleged that my entire motive to ‘make up’ the rape story in 2014 was to get revenge over the alleged ‘dumping’ I received at his hands during the alleged romantic affair we had during plebe year in 1983. There was no such romantic affair. (And the actual rape took place in 1986. )How can both his statements be true? How could I have accused him in 2009 on his social media accounts about the rape and then ‘made it up’ in 2014 when I allegedly saw his promotion in the Stars & Stripes newspapers? How logical is that? Obviously, I knew about the rape in 2009 in order to accuse him of it! Thus, I ‘knew’ about the rape well before his promotion announcement five years after I began accusing him in 2009. Clearly, I didn’t ‘make it up’ the moment I saw his promotion announcement and thus, couldn’t have the motive of ‘wanting to wreck his promotion as revenge for being dumped’.
The Army CID had ALL this information at their fingertips, as did the jury. And yet, no held Riggins responsible for lying about the one and only alibi he proffered against my rape allegation. They just let this evidence sit, asked nothing further about it from Riggins and then, simply let him go. I ask every criminal prosecutor out there: was this investigation done properly? Did they conclude it before all evidence was collected?
In today’s environment where Congress and the Public is threatening to take rape prosecution away from the Army, why would they prosecute a colonel whom they almost promoted to a general??? Especially considering that President Obama had signed for him to go forward on his promotion? They knew that such a high profile prosecution would make the news- even without my blog. How embarrassing would that be for the president?? And for the Congress. And for the Army. When the Army CID absolutely cut me off and refused to answer any further questions or complaints I had after I received the lawsuit, I had to conclude that they had acted in their own self interest, not mine. My loss in the Army investigation was purely political. My loss in court was purely political. I hate to say it, but I believe that powerful people rigged my trial. Too many absurd rulings combined with a jury that felt it didn’t need to even deliberate one minute on the evidence combined with the most outrageous $8 million dollar fine points to that conclusion.
Riggins goes around whining that the Sec. of the Army ‘didn’t want to expend his political capital’ by promoting him. I believe the truth is exactly the opposite. They didn’t want to expend their political capital by prosecuting him with the CID investigation. Prosecuting a colonel they were about to promote to one of the highest positions in the land would be a press nightmare for them. Better to throw me under the bus and sink or swim without their help.
CID facts: Riggins claimed that he drove drunk as a plebe from a company sponsored event. This was not possible in 1983. Plebes could not drive without the owner of the car in the car. Riggins claimed that he drove four cadets (including himself) to the barracks and we all went to bed. This is impossible because he couldn’t park his car at the barracks. He later CHANGED THIS STORY and claimed that he drove the car to his mother’s hotel and then SHE drove us all to the barracks. He did this because I pointed out the discrepancy during the deposition process. (The jury didn’t bother to review the fact that he changed this critical part of his story and said it was ‘obvious’ who was lying- me!) Riggins claimed (and even drew a picture) that another couple was in the back seat of the alleged car where our alleged ‘consensual sex’ took place. He claimed it was his roommate and his girlfriend ‘messing around’. He claimed that I had ‘gotten on top’ of him and had jumped him, without him being able to stop me. His roommate refused to confirm his statement. This is because there are so few women at West Point and it was so against regs to have sex on post that no cadet could ever forget such a sight as a female cadet pouncing on a male cadet in the front seat of a car! Especially without the male cadet’s permission and desire! (Feel free to scoff). When asked how I could possibly have managed to put his penis inside me without his permission or consent, he claimed that he wasn’t wearing any ‘pants’ under his toga. This is impossible. There is no way a cadet would break the dress code in this manner as a plebe at West Point. There were strict dress codes. Everyone wore their uniforms or their gym outfits at the very least. Wearing a costume only meant putting it over your gym outfit. This was another huge lie from Riggins. When Riggins was asked in court about not wearing any pants under his toga, he CHANGED his story again. Instead, he said that he was wearing his gym pants, not pants. But this again leaves the question, “how could I have possible mounted him sexually without his consent or desire as he also testified? He claimed that he was sexually innocent and was unused to a sophisticated woman such as I. Riggins’ story changed from the CID statement to the deposition statements to the courtroom. But the CID, the judge and the jury didn’t care.
His own sister claimed I was visibly drunk, was slurring and couldn’t walk straight. Riggins alleged to the CID that older cadets told him to take me outside in order to avoid a ‘PDA’ violation. “PDA” means ‘public display of affection”. He said I was ‘hanging all over him’, putting my tongue in his ear, etc. In response to this alleged command, he claimed he put me in his mother’s car to keep me warm and that is where the alleged ‘consensual’ sex took place. Doesn’t his account, though false, still sound like rape? (the Sec. of the Army was able to read this original statement too. I believe his CID statements had a lot to do with him not getting promoted. ) He had no witnesses to verify his story. He claimed that one of his roommates was in the back seat to witness the sex. They refused to back his account. He claimed that his sister was not in the car. He claimed that we dated for 4-5 weeks after the Halloween party. **
But I had the actual witness testimony that confirmed my never changing story that I went home with a different cadet on Halloween night. His name is Col. Richard Muscheck who gave witness at my trial to confirm this critical fact. I had the eyewitness testimony from two of my roommates, Mary and Valerie, who also confirmed my unchanging story of Halloween night and the rape. They both saw me return to the barracks with Richard Muscheck. They both confirmed the poison ivy we both got from kissing in the poison ivy. They confirmed it was Halloween, 1983. I could not have driven home with Riggins that night. Not only was it completely against the regs and against everything we knew to be true as plebes, but I had three eye witnesses to the fact. All three of my witnesses went on to become Army officers, two of whom became Colonels. I hadn’t spoken to any of them since West Point- they had no reason to lie for me. Riggins had not a single eye witness, other than his lying mother and sister. They were completely biased and had every reason to lie for him. His only West Point witness refused to confirm his story.
CID fact: Riggins claimed that I dated him for 4-5 weeks after the ‘consensual sex’ at the 1983 Halloween dance. My cadet roommates and West Point friends all testified that I never dated him and one testified that I utterly ignored him even though he obviously tried to hit on me for many years (which was also my testimony). HIS West Point cadet witnesses refused to confirm his statement about the dating as well. None of them witnessed us together romantically or ever heard of us together as a couple. Even his mother testified that she didn’t know of any ‘dating’ between us. He claimed that he had almost no contact with me after this alleged dating. However, I had an eye witness who distinctly remembered him trying, for two years, to get my romantic attention and me never bothering to give him the time of day. And the same witness testified that directly before I claimed my rape took place, I became visibly upset when my friend mentioned Riggins’ name, said something harsh and ran out of the room. Again, no one could confirm Riggins’ story while I had many witnesses confirm mine. The CID had all these facts and STILL let Riggins go without any prosecution.
**Riggins’ story continually changed from his CID statement to his Promotion Review Board Letter, to his deposition to the jury statement. His sister’s testimony changed from her CID statement to the jury. Hers and his accounts never matched up, no matter how many times they changed their story.
His mother’s testimony changed from the CID report statement to her jury statement. Riggins’ mother said in her deposition that she could not even remember my face or name. Only when Riggins sent her a photo did she say she remembered me. She claimed that I ‘had never been in her house’ in her CID statement. However, on the stand, she CHANGED HER STORY and said that I HAD been in her house, but she never allowed her son to watch porn in her presence. This was important because I claimed that the reason I would never have ‘dated’ Riggins or have had consensual sex with him was because of a disgusting prank he and his friend, Chris Rigoni played on me during plebe year. I didn’t realize it at the time, but later found that both were in West Point’s flight club. Riggins asked if I wanted to come with another cadet to his NJ home for a couple hours to relax away from West Point. Of course I would! I’d never flown in a tiny plane before. While there, however, the two young men ruined my time by renting a disgusting porn video. They asked if I wanted to watch a movie. I thought it was just a regular movie and was looking forward to relaxing with friends but when it came on, I didn’t even know what I was seeing. I had never seen porn before (I was only 18 and had been strictly raised) and couldn’t understand that I was looking at an ultra close up shot of coitus. All I saw was skin and hair- it took a few moments to sink in and when it did, I shouted, “Oh!” and stood up and ran from the room. Riggins’ mother was in the kitchen. I told her that the boys were watching porn and she digressed, attempting to change the subject. I repeated my statement, shocked that she allowed it. She asked, “Do you know how to play UNO, dear?” Still in shock, I learned how to play UNO that day. From that point on, I despised both Riggins and Rigoni. That is why I would never have dated him or have sex with him. Thus, the fact that Riggins’ mother changed her testimony was critical in the trial. First she said I had never been in her house. But when she realized that it could be confirmed via West Point that Rigoni and her son were both in the Flight Club and probably that there are flight records of that date and time, she changed her story to say I was in her home, but that she never allowed the porn. Either way, it shows her to be a liar, willing to say whatever her son needed to avoid prosecution.
But the jury felt it was ‘obvious’ who the liar was- so ‘obvious’ that they didn’t even need to review the evidence.
My story never changed. Ever. I told the CID about every event and witness and I never changed it and my story was confirmed by many witnesses. Who is telling the truth? (When you give a testimony, you have no idea if witnesses will be found or what they will say. I couldn’t have predicted that my witness would tell the exact story as mine- or any other of the witnesses. I never spoke to Richard Muscheck (the cadet with whom I went home) until after the CID investigation was over. Only then did he tell me that he was not informed about why he was being asked the questions- which makes his testimony all the stronger. My story matches with every witness I brought- even his witnesses verified major points of my original account.)
I heard nothing about the results of the investigation until I got Riggins’ lawsuit. When I heard them, I was angry.
That is when I saw how shoddily the CID investigation was done.
I will always conclude that the Army decided to ‘make the entire problem go away’ by giving the ‘unsubstantiated by both parties’ ruling and by denying him promotion. They killed two birds with one stone. I was that stone. And they simply threw me into the river to drown.
Other errors in the article:
Jackson mentions that “one of her own witnesses testified that Shannon did know, and that it was the motivation for her writing her first blog post. Shannon said the witness misunderstood the question, but the information remained unchallenged for the jury to consider.” I told Jackman that Horvath, Riggins’ attorney had tricked my witness into answering the wrong way. I told him about the following Linked In evidence which was what Horvath was referencing when he spoke to my witness, but refused to show her the comment. But Jackman didn’t see fit to include it in his article or to say what actually happened.
TRUTH: I want to post the exact LinkedIn message I sent this friend and which Horvath refused to show her when she was testifying:
As you can see by the Linked In comment I sent my roommate, I clearly didn’t know he was being promoted to b.general before I wrote my first article. Horvath knew this 100% as this was sent to him. And yet, he continues to lie to the press and say I ‘intentionally’ derailed Riggins’ promotion. How could I if I didn’t know about it until AFTER I had written my article? Horvath knows he is lying to the press, but what’s new with this attorney? Rather than ask the proper question, Horvath tricked her by asking such a convoluted question about this comment that she answered, ‘yes’, by mistake. When she realized what she had done, she wanted to be put back up to set the record straight, but it was too late. The damage had been done. THIS is the real evidence that he was asking her about. And you can plainly see why he didn’t put it up for the jury to see.
My attorney never asked trick questions or tried to show people fake photos and get them to identify it as something else. Horvath won by trickery and low ethical practices in the courtroom, not with FACTS.
ERROR: It said, “In Washington state, Shannon told investigators there was no sex or relationship in 1983, only a rape after Riggins saw her staggering out of a pedestrian tunnel on campus in the spring of 1986. She claimed Riggins offered her a ride in his car, and that she had no memory of the actual assault, although she said Riggins “smugly admitted he did indeed rape” Shannon, according to a Fairfax court filing.”
TRUTH: First, I never said that Riggins saw me ‘staggering out of a pedestrian tunnel.” That is a lie. I simply said that I fell on some stairs on the way home to barracks and couldn’t move. I couldn’t stand up or walk. I simply testified that Riggins ‘came out of no where’ and offered me a ride and that it was a Godsend.
Second, to say “she had no memory of the actual assault, although she said Riggins “smugly admitted he did indeed rape” is so deceitful. Those two ideas were never together as implied by Tom Jackman. I reported that I didn’t remember the actual rape (ie, the sex part). Period. But I also testified that THE DAY AFTER, I confronted him and he admitted it- smugly and with great satisfaction. Tom Jackman is implying that there is a problem with my testimony by putting those two ideas together without stating that a day went past between the two events.
ERROR: The article states that “She said she presented a witness, another cadet, who testified that he — the witness — drove her home from the Halloween party. Shannon stands by her version of the events in 1986.”
TRUTH: I never said, “drove me home” to Tom Jackman. I said “we went to the barracks in an Army deuce and a half truck together.” Cadets can’t drive if they’ve been drinking. Plebe (freshman) cadets can’t drive at all without the owner of the car being present.
ERROR: “As an expert witness at trial, Horvath called retired Major General Peter Fuller to testify that the rape allegation would have caused Riggins’ promotion to be rejected. Horvath said Riggins’ income, both as a general and as a retired general, would have been much greater than that of a colonel.”
TRUTH: Tom Jackman failed to mention that General Fuller was a personal friend of Riggins for many years. Fuller also failed to provide a single ounce of data to support his claim that Riggins ‘would have’ made more money as a b. general. And he never testified that Riggins’ promotion would have been derailed ‘no matter what’, even if he was innocent. That is a falsehood repeated only by Riggins and his legal team. It is basically saying that the Army promotion process is 100% corrupt.** He should never have been allowed to testify as an ‘expert witness’ in the first place, according to VA’s strict definition of the term ‘expert witness’ but was allowed anyway. We, however, were held to the highest standard of ‘expert witness’. One professional, licensed therapist of more than a decade, was not allowed to testify on any of the data she brought. The expert witness on rape and sexual abuse that we were allowed to bring was restricted from saying that he diagnosed me with ‘severe depression’ or to give his expert opinion concerning how and why I would not have been able to report the rape in 1986, but could in 2009 and 2013 when I did. By placing the ‘expert’ testimony of this general ( his old boss in the Army and close personal friend) right next to Horvath’s FALSE statement that the Army would never have promoted an innocent officer, Tom Jackman tried to sway his readers into believing that the general testified to that statement and supported it.
ERROR: Tom Jackman failed to report that not only did the judge strike down the CID results that would show the true findings (ie, that Riggins’ story of ‘consensual sex’ on Halloween 1983 could NOT be substantiated in any way nor could his pleas of innocence) but also struck down all our eye witness accounts of his harassment of female cadets and blatant hatred of women at the academy. This allowed the jury to think of him as a soldier without character defects. I suppose Mr. Jackman wants his public to believe the same thing.
OBSERVATION: I find it interesting that Jackman mentions one sentence, out of context, from my five year old Sandy Hook article( without mentioning all the supporting detail I gave), when it has absolutely nothing to do with this trial. He admits it wasn’t presented to the jury. This statement, in addition to a single sentence from me about becoming Riggins’ sexual slave is what Jackson uses to characterize me- but about Riggins, he Jackman drones on about all his medals and professional accomplishments. Why didn’t Jackman mention my highly successful management consulting career and then my pride in my job as a mother? Jackman portrayed me as a whiner who has accomplished nothing and is doing nothing worthy while Riggins is a military hero. Nice. Why didn’t he mention the suicidal anguish I suffered for many years after I left West Point, the fact that it took me almost 3 years to complete the last 1/2 semester of college? That I struggled but never gave up, knowing that only a college degree could pull me out of the extreme poverty and homelessness I was experiencing after West Point? I can only conclude that Jackman wished people to make prejudicial political conclusions instead of basing their judgement on the facts of the trial. Nice, Tomas Jackman.
ERROR: Tom Jackman allowed Horvath to include his sorry mantra but not my responses to it, ““Everything in that blog post was provably false and could not have happened.” He said no free beer was provided on the West Point campus, that drinking was prohibited by cadets, that Riggins did not have a car in 1986, would not have been allowed to drive it on campus, and that anyone emerging from the pedestrian tunnel couldn’t have been seen from the road. Shannon’s claims that her grades plunged after the event and that she returned her class ring were also untrue, Horvath said.”
TRUTH: cadets of all years at West Point could own and drive and temporarily park at West Point. So, that is a lie. Free beer was provided often at West Point. Cadets could drink during the entire time I was at West Point- if not, how in the world could Riggins’ alleged account be true: that I was very drunk, that he had 5 beers and that he even DROVE under those conditions?? As for my grades, another lie. My grades DID fail- I was referring to major tests toward the end of the semester that counted heavily to my final grades. When I failed those, I knew I had no chance of getting onto the West Point medical school track and became extremely upset. That was part of the reason I quit when I did- to prevent those grades from being permanently on my GPA. As to the tunnel and steps, he didn’t NEED to see me from the road. All he had to do was see me leave drunk and staggering. There is only ONE ROUTE home to the barracks- through that tunnel and up those stairs. I never claimed to be at the bottom of the stairs either- I said I was out in the open- ie, the top of the stairs, which could be seen readily to any passerby. All he had to do was park his car in the substantial pull out next to the stairs and WAIT for me to arrive. I also testified that I believed I was drugged as well as drunk. I had never before and have never since felt entire body paralysis and complete black outs except on that one occasion. Rape drugs were readily available in 1986. But Tom Jackman didn’t report that even though I told him everything.
ERROR: Jackman wrote: ““The bottom line,” Shannon said, “is when the judge struck the [Army] CID findings at the beginning of trial” and prevented her witnesses from testifying about Riggins’s character, “we could not switch gears and defend me in a certain way.”
TRUTH: I didn’t say ‘in a certain way.” I said, “properly.”
ERROR: Jackman wrote, “She acknowledged that her blog post sparked an investigation which otherwise wouldn’t have happened, but that Riggins had the burden of proof to show that the investigation stopped his promotion.”
TRUTH: I never ‘acknowledged’ any such thing. I said that it was possible that my article sparked the CID investigation and I certainly never said it ‘otherwise wouldn’t have happened.” How in the world would I know that? Three women who claimed to work with him contacted my blog and wrote about what a liar and awful man he was to work for. One woman said, “He made my life a living hell.” How do I know what actually set off the investigation? Furthermore, I never stated that Riggins had the burden of proof to show the investigation stopped his promotion. He actually had the burden of proof to show that the rape NEVER HAPPENED. That is how you prove defamation. I wrote that he raped me. He sued me for that statement. He had to prove THAT HE DIDN’T RAPE ME and never did. Yet the jury decided for him anyway.
I believe that everything in my article was ‘provably true’ and was proven true at the trial. Too bad no one bothered to review the data. Perhaps they were star struck with Riggins’ metals and his best friend general who name dropped Gen. Allen and Gen. Petraeus to them. What does a stay at home mother have to compete with that? We don’t get any medals for our work.
Tom Jackman got me to give an interview on the promise that he ‘didn’t want to add stress to my life’ and the promise that he would write a fair, unbiased story. Do you think he did that?