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A Federal Government To Pay $975,000 to Retired Army Colonel for Sexual Assault Settlement

The Federal government will pay $975,000 to a retired army colonel, Kathryn Spletstoser for a lawsuit settlement of a sexual assault against Air Force Gen. John Hyten, a former vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Spetstoser was an aide of Gen. Hyten in 2017.

The settlement was reached after more than 4 years of investigations, reviews, and congressional digging into the matter. Air Force investigation didn’t find proof of the accusation that Gen. Hyten subjected her to sexual assault during her tenure as Hyten’s aide in 2017.

A retired Colonel Kathryn Spletstoser filed a lawsuit and the settlement was reached in U.S. District Court in California on Wednesday. The federal government will pay her $975,000, according to AP.

“It is my sincere hope that the successful outcome in my case will embolden other survivors of military sexual violence to come forward — no matter how high ranking the perpetrator,” she said in a statement Thursday.

In an interview with The AP in 2019, Spletstoser said Hyten subjected her to unwanted sexual advances by kissing, hugging, and rubbing up against her in 2017 while she was one of his top aides. She said she repeatedly pushed him away and told him to stop, and that he tried to derail her military career after she rebuffed him.

Spletstoser’s attorney, Ariel Solomon, said in a statement Thursday that the legal payout “stands out as the only known settlement paid by the government for a sexual assault case brought against a member of the United States military.”

Gen.Hyten has been denied sexual assault allegations against Col. Speltstoser during “A Senate Armed Services Committee hearing in July 2019, with his wife seated behind him and Spletstoser looking on from a short distance away. An internal Air Force investigation determined insufficient evidence to charge him or recommend discipline. And a senior Air Force official said at the time that investigators also found no evidence Spletstoser was lying. The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss personnel matters.”

It is a rare event that the federal government has had to pay a large amount of money for a lawsuit settlement for a high-ranking military officer, according to Nonetheless, this could be the precedent to solve the persistent issue of sexual assault in the U.S. military.


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