WAYZATA, Minn. - 17 years after a sex scandal rocked the U.S. Army Aberdeen Proving Grounds base in Maryland, the commanding general of the training facility has come forward with a book about the goings on during that time. Retired Maj. Gen. Robert Shadley said the abuse is continuing and needs to stop.
Shadley, 70, an Ohio native who now makes his home in Minnesota, has detailed his account of the Aberdeen affair in a self-published hardcover book, "the GAMe". The work takes its title from a sex game among the base drill instructors. Shadley says scores were kept of sexual relations between the instructors and their recruits, who were mainly young women.
Shadley has met for several years with an ecletic group of Minnesotans from the west Twin Cities metro area at the Sunsets restaurant in Wayzata each weekday morning. The group always has a space along a back wall, dubbed "Table one" by the restaurant.
"We cover a pretty wide range of skills from retired CEOs to people that do labor-type work," said Darrell Leines, Table one regular.
"We have a tree-trimmer (Don Scanlon)," said Table one regular Alan Grundei. "We have a marketing guru. We have a printing salesman (former Minnesota Viking Wes Hamilton). We got a guy who designed drones for the military (Leines), medical device companies. We solve all the world's problems."
The regulars at the table, who come and go through the morning, listened to Shadley's stories of how he helped to uncover and deal with the sex abuse under his command. They urged him to finally put down in writing what he had done and what he thought still needed to be done.
"Imagine being that parent, sitting back and finding out that your child is being sexually assaulted or being a victim of sexual assault," said Cindy Leines, Table one member and Darrell's wife.
It is clear to any casual observer how much respect the others have for Shadley. "His message of doing the right thing is not only in the book but in his life as well," commented Darrell Leines.
Shadley is "Bob" to his daily tablemates. He began to write the book in 2011.
"It is a story that needed to be told," he said. "We uncovered an abuse of power in 1996-1997 timeframe... Several national agenda took precedence over that and, as a result, I have seen no significant change in the sexual assault prevention programs that have been instituted since that time frame."
News reports at the time noted that about 19 female victims had been identified. Ultimately, the Army brought charges against 12 commissioned and non-commissioned male officers for sexual assault on female trainees at Aberdeen. One of the Sergeants involved was sentenced to 25 years in prison, another to six months in prison, demoted to private and expelled from the Army with a dishonorable discharge.
In some cases, arguments that the sex was consensual were dismissed because of the position of authority by the alleged perpetrators. Shadley contended that the perpetrators of such conduct are a very small part of the 1.4 million American military service members.
"We should attack sexual assaults in the military just like we did drug abuse in the 1980's," said Shadley. "Absolutely zero tolerance. Identify the perpetrators and get them out of our military.
"99% of the folks in the military are great, hard working, God-fearing people doing their best they can to defend this country every day. It is a small percentage that drags the total down."
Asked if he believed that negative politics might have cost him a third star on his epaulet, Shadley was resolute. "I just know that I can get up in the morning, look myself in the mirror and I know that I did the right thing and that's what all of us need to do every day," insisted Shadley. "Whether I would have been promoted is irrelevant. I did the right thing and I am proud of it."
In "the GAMe" Shadley details how his investigation showed the sex abuse was present at other bases as well. Shadley has set up a website. It includes information on how to obtain the book.
Shadley is scheduled to attend a book signing event on Saturday, April 27 at the Bookshelf on Lake Street in Wayzata.
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