The general nominated to be the new vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff has recently been cleared of sexual assault allegations brought into the open by an Army colonel- but that hasn’t stopped the field officer from publicly airing her claims.
Col. Kathryn Spletstoser claims that she was sexually assaulted by Air Force General John Hyten in late 2017, while the two were at a hotel. In addition, she claims that she was not assaulted once, but several times.
Despite Hyten being cleared of the allegations after no proof was discovered by investigators, Speltstoser has continued to claim that she was sexually predated upon by Hyten, and has even gone so far as to pen a public article in response to the investigation being dropped.
“I am an active duty Army soldier who serves honorably today,” she wrote. “I served two deployments in Afghanistan and two more in Iraq. I have also been publicly smeared for reporting I was sexually assaulted by a general officer.”
The colonel claims that she has been “smeared” in the media and that she wants to ensure Hyten can never hurt anyone ever again.
“During his confirmation hearing and in several articles, negative and false representations of my character and record have been raised,” she wrote. “This is devastating to me, not only as a survivor of sexual assault, but also as an active duty soldier. I had a moral responsibility to come forward with the truth. I risked everything to ensure that Gen. Hyten cannot do this to anyone else as the VCJCS.”
The account claims that she was only found to be a toxic leader after she rejected his advances, and that she was a stellar leader before then.
However, as The Federalist notes, investigators had labeled her a toxic leader, and Hyten had repeatedly urged the colonel to seek mental help, particularly after she threatened to kill herself with a firearm.
“You told me if you had a gun, it would already be done,” Hyten told Spetstoser after she sent suicide notes to multiple colleagues. “You screamed at me about this being all my fault and then screamed that I would have to live with it and I could think about this at your funeral, then hung up.”
Spletstoser was eventually tracked down by military and local police, telling them that she was simply “crying for help.”
Soon, Splestoser’s behavior began scaring her co-workers, including Hyten.
“I will never be able to trust you and work with you again,” the general wrote in 2018. You will not work with me anymore, ever. I cannot be constantly looking over my shoulder, wondering if you are about to blow up again,” he said, adding that he saw her “blow up many times over the last few months. The last few times you came into my office, do you even realize how loud you were screaming at me? We are in a SCIF [Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility] and everybody in the entire front office area could hear you screaming at me and what you were saying. They were actually concerned for my safety, including my personal security detail. I don’t even know if you realize how loud and aggressive you are.”
Hyten urged the colonel to retire with honor, but instead, she went public with her allegations.
“I am not trying to get back at Gen. Hyten for anything,” the colonel penned in her recent article. “I am simply telling the truth. People who continue to defend and lobby for Gen. Hyten were not witnesses to the sexual assaults and no matter how many people like him it does not change the fact that he committed felony level sexual assault crimes.”
Spletstoser went on to insinuate that all the allegations regarding her mental issues are harmful and unfounded.
“Even more disturbing is the insinuation that I made these allegations up because I am mentally ill from combat zone injuries that resulted in a mild brain injury. To have that injury thrown in my face as the root of a ‘false’ sexual assault allegation is absurd, demeaning, and an attack on survivors of sexual assault and those who have served our country.”
The colonel claims that Hyten stalked her, threatening her in such a manner that a Military Protective Order against him was issued.
“If Gen. Hyten is promoted to vice chairman it sends a clear message that military sexual assault will go on unchecked and unaccountable,” she wrote. “It tells every general officer who commits a crime that they are above the law, that victims’ voices will never be heard, and that justice or accountability will not be served.”
Heidi Brown, a retired Army major general who worked alongside Hyten and Spletstoser, told the Wall Street Journal that, “For the good of the country, for the good of actual sexual assault survivors, and for the good of due process and other values we hold dear, the Senate should confirm Gen. Hyten as vice chairman. For the same reasons, the Army should investigate Col. Spletstoser for perjury under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.”
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