A US Army Staff Sergeant was sentenced to thirteen years behind bars for a series of rapes and assaults, several of which he received mere reprimands for.
SSG Randall Hughes, is reported to have raped the wife of a young Soldier in 2017, while attending a Super Bowl party.
At the time, Hughes is said to have asked the victim if she wanted to engage in sexual acts, as her husband was passed out from excessive drinking.
When the victim refused, she was forcibly dragged about and sexually assaulted.
The victim, Leah Ramirez, reported the matter to Army CID within 24 hours and the matter was investigated at a snail’s pace.
“I waited until the morning and then I went to the hospital to get checked,” Ramirez told the Army Times. “It took CID 48 hours to get into my house for evidence, so I lived in the crime scene for 48 hours. And then, it took three years to do anything.”
Following a year-long investigation, Hughes was determined to have committed the rape and a receiving a General Officer Memorandum of Reprimand was put in his personnel file.
“I was told CID had enough evidence to believe it happened, and Fort Bliss still didn’t do anything,” Ramirez said. “They just told me the command said this is what it was- this is how it is.”
Mysteriously, Hughes had escaped prosecution- and it would embolden the NCO to continue committing such acts.
Months after Ramirez filed the report, Hughes raped another woman at Fort Bliss, Texas. A few years later, he was accused of rape at Fort Dix, New Jersey.
When the Army once again investigated, around five victims were identified, having been raped within a decade’s time span.
Eventually pleading guilty to a list of charges, Hughes was sentenced to 13 years behind bars and a dishonorable discharge.
Now, many of his victims -including Hughes’ own daughter- are speaking out, in hopes that other victims will come forward and that the Army will prevent such matters from happening again.
Lesley Madsden, who moved in with her father in her teens, was sedated and raped by her father.
“He was taking a plea deal, so he wanted to plead to get the minimum amount of years,” said Madsen, who is now 17 years of age and got approval to be publicly named. “If I said no, then it would have been years of court…It was the easiest way to give everyone that closure and just put him away before he did anything to anybody else.”
In Madsden’s case, however, CID was much more proactive.
“I got really lucky and I had a team [of CID agents] who cared a lot … because they found everybody else and they started adding it all up,” she said. “It was just insane, because none of us even expected the extent of what he did. I’m not ashamed of what he did to me. I want people to know I’m a minor and I want them to know that I’m a daughter.”
For some, such as Mrs. Ramirez’ husband, staying in the Army and continuing onward has been an uphill battle.
“It’s hard for me to trust my chain of command now,” Staff Sgt. Arnulfo Ramirez III said. “It takes me forever, once I get to a new unit, to trust platoon sergeants. … Fort Benning earned it and Fort Hood has, so far, earned it.”
Hughes will soon be transferred from New York State to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.
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