Fighting for the truth . . . exposing the corrupt
CHICKENS COME HOME TO
AT CARLISLE BARRACKS LAWSUIT
FILED IN FEDERAL COURT
DID CHILCOAT AND SCALES PROTECT
ALLEGED "SEX HARASSER?"
VANNER SAYS CHILCOAT OFFERED
HER MONEY TO "GO AWAY."
Did two former Carlisle Barracks commandants "protect" an alleged serial "sex harasser," while women were not helped but retaliated against on their installation? That's a question that may arise in the wake of a Federal lawsuit filed against the Army by one of the victimized women.
Barbara J. Vanner, who worked at the Barracks and the Army War College as an employee assistance programmer, alleges in the lawsuit filed in United States District Court in Harrisburg, Pa., she was the target of unwanted sexual advances by top-ranking civilian, Mr. Ron Meier, boss of the Directorate of Personnel and Community Activities (DPCA).
According to a copy of the filing, obtained by MilitaryCorruption.com, Meier is accused of a pattern of behavior in which he "repeatedly approached (Vanner) in an inappropriate, sexual manner."
The document details instances of Meier touching Vanner in a familiar way, making "suggestive" remarks to her and continuing the behavior, even after the Carlisle, Pa. woman complained to the post chain-of-command.
WHY DIDN'T CHILCOAT HELP THIS WOMAN?
Instead of helping Vanner, the commandant allegedly IGNORED her pleas for assistance. Did the fact that Meier was his top-ranking civilian on post have anything to do with the general's strange inaction? Could it be that Gen. Richard J. Chilcoat, described by Barracks workers as "vain, pompous" and a man "who would let nothing get in the way of his third star," wanted to make sure no embarrassment would mar his "image" in the minds of his mentors at the Pentagon?
So what if a female worker on post complained to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and followed the law every step of the way trying to gain justice? What did she matter?
In a telephone interview with Vanner, prior to the court filing, she told MilitaryCorruption.com of her "frustration" at the stone wall being put up, allegedly to "protect" Meier from any disciplinary action.
"I was retaliated against when they full well knew I was being victimized," she said. In April 1995, Vanner had "TDY" orders to attend an Alcohol and Drug Control Officer/Education Coordinator/Civilian Program Coordinator course. But at the "last minute," she said, "Meier canceled the orders, for no apparent reason" despite prior approval given.
"I could only conclude this was his way of showing me he was displeased that I had complained about him to the command," Vanner said.
The pressure grew so great and the work environment so poisoned, that Vanner's health began to be affected. She was placed on full workers compensation after three physicians, including a Harrisburg psychiatrist used by the U.S. Department of Labor for workers compensation evaluations - specifically to "weed out" fraudulent claims - documented Vanner's symptoms and blamed "workplace discrimination" for having caused them.
Psychiatrist John E. Mira wrote: "(This woman) is directly supervised by a male employee who has consistently followed a pattern of physical inappropriate contact and verbal intimidation and apparent retribution for attempts at reporting his behavior.
"The connection between Mrs.Vanner's work situation and her symptoms is both chronologically and causedly direct . . . It appears that she is definitely a victim of sexual harassment in the workplace," Mira said.
"HARASSMENT BY THE POWERS THAT BE"
Even the doctor's report failed to convince the Carlisle Barracks "leadership."
By 1997, the Office of the Garrison Command, directly under the thumb of then-Maj. Gen Chilcoat, was incredibly proposing the REMOVAL of Vanner from Federal service! Never mind that the one-time lady Marine had a stellar work record at the Barracks and was highly respected by military members and civilian employees alike. She had "accused" a highly-placed "favorite" of the commandant. That would NOT be overlooked.
On Jan. 20, 1998, Vanner filed a formal complaint of "discrimination" for being denied access to the Equal Employment Opportunity Office on post.
Retaliation was swift in coming. Less than a month later, she was "removed from her employment."
Not exactly the type of treatment to win "kudos" from Ms. Magazine or Hillary Clinton, right? With the headline-grabbing "sex harassment" scandals at Aberdeen Proving Grounds, it is interesting that Chilcoat was not more "sensitive" to such an issue on his own installation.
Or maybe it depends on WHO is the "accused."
A longtime civilian employee at Carlisle Barracks described a case in point:
"Chilcoat destroyed the life and career of a fine officer here with one stroke of his pen," the veteran civil service worker said. "Many of us knew it was a frame-up, and maybe Chilcoat knew that himself, but he had a habit of HYPOCRICY when it came to his favorites. So, when someone was expendable and of no use to him, they were thrown to the wolves."
The well-informed worker told of a former garrison commander who served during Chilcoat's reign:
"He was hitting on women all over the post. His favorite line was: 'Have you ever been with a black man?' That was uttered to white women, of course. He was married, but that didn't matter to him. Eventually he transferred to Europe and his career finally came to an end when he was caught in bed with an enlisted man's wife.
"Why didn't Chilcoat do something about him before it got to that point? The answer, in my opinion, is simple," the civilian worker said. "If he was publicly embarrassed by disclosure of such shenanigans, GOOD-BYE THIRD STAR. That's why Barbara Vanner was treated so badly. They had to hammer her and close ranks behind Meier or the mess would blow up in their faces."
A MATTER OF INTEGRITY - TURNING DOWN A "BRIBE?"
When news of Vanner's ordeal made the pages of the powerful Harrisburg PATRIOT newspaper, Chilcoat knew he had to act. The former commandant, who warmly welcomed an accused two-star general, being investigated for sex crimes in Bosnia, to Carlisle Barracks where he was "hidden out" by the general's pal, then-Army Chief of Staff Dennis Reimer, decided to offer Vanner a cash "settlement."
"In the morning it was $25,000," Vanner told MilitaryCorruption.com, "but by the end of the day the total was doubled, to $50,000. The terms were absolutely unacceptable. I was supposed to say nothing, in effect to GO AWAY, and NO record would be put in Meier's file about the sexual harassment."
At this point, Vanner showed a great deal of INTEGRITY. She had been subjected to abuse and retaliation for following the law. Now the "settlement money" was hers to be had, IF she would compromise her position that her alleged "sex harasser" be prevented from doing to others what she stated he had done to her.
Cynics who might carp that Vanner was only "in it for the money," would be hard-pressed to explain the COURAGE this woman showed to "walk away" from the tempting pile of cash and continue her fight for justice.
That battle culminated in the lawsuit (jury trial demanded) filed in Federal Court on November 1st. Indeed, for that veteran of cocktail party chatter and a perfectly planned pedigree toward his ultimate goal of high rank, the "chickens" may indeed have finally come home to roost.
ANOTHER VICTIM ACCUSES MEIER - AND IS ATTACKED
If the Vanner controversy and the smattering of bad publicity in the local press had not been enough already, further questions about Meier arose when a second woman on Carlisle Barracks accused him of sexual harassment.
Ace reporter Matt Miller said it best in his lead paragraph of a story written for the July 23, 2000 edition of the Harrisburg PATRIOT-NEWS:
"For the second time in three years, allegations have surfaced publicly that a civilian administrator at Carlisle Barracks sexually harassed a woman working on the base, which is home to the Army War College."
If THAT didn't set off alarm bells at the Barracks that something was terribly wrong, nothing would! And the reaction of the new commandant, Maj. Gen Robert Scales was no better than his buddy, now newly-promoted Lt. Gen. Richard Chilcoat.
Mouthing the usual platitudes about "zero tolerance," Scales wrote a United States Senator in June of 2000:
"LET ME ASSURE YOU, THAT IT IS THE FIRM POLICY OF CARLISLE BARRACKS, TO MAINTAIN A COMMUNITY IN WHICH STUDENTS, FACULTY, STAFF AND OTHER MEMBERS OF THE CIVILIAN AND MILITARY COMMUNITY CAN WORK AND LIVE TOGETHER IN AN ENVIRONMENT FREE FROM ALL FORMS OF HARASSMENT AND INTIMIDATION, TO INCLUDE SEXUAL HARASSMENT."
Then this self-described, so-called "military historian" told the ultimate whopper:
"SEXUAL HARASSMENT WILL NOT BE TOLERATED ON THIS INSTALLATION, AND WHEN AN ALLEGATION ARISES, WE WILL NOT HESITATE TO TAKE APPROPRIATE ACTION."
"Pious" words indeed from a former commandant, perhaps best known during his troubled tenure at Carlisle Barracks for a pair of "panties" inscribed to him by a colonel's wife: "THESE ARE FOR YOU, BOBBY."
Certainly M. Rae White, who worked on post as an employee of the State Job center in Carlisle, would find that to be a bit "ironic."
Just as Barbara Vanner was vilified and her complaints fell on deaf ears, White's allegations of a pattern of "sexual harassment" by guess who? - Ron Meier - got the same treatment.
In fact, White was at one point BANNED from coming on post! And when a "15-6 investigation" was completed on her allegations that Meier had also "harassed" her in the workplace, incredibly White was informed she would NOT be told the RESULT unless she coughed up at least $150 for photocopying costs!
Hello? This is 2001. A second woman - we have heard of at least four in all - alleges harassment by the top-ranking civilian on post, and she is callously told she cannot even find out the result unless she PAYS "through the nose." How "sensitive" is THAT? How does that square with the "canned comments" by the self-righteous Scales who would have a member of Congress believe he "will not tolerate" such abuse on his installation?
At least Scales failed in his goal to make a third star.
White's complaints, made also to MilitaryCorruption.com in a telephone interview, sound almost identical to what Vanner endured. "One day Meier came to the doorway of my office, looked at me like I was a piece of meat and smirked: "Ms. White. I want to tell you how much I appreciate your body." White said he "paused for effect" and then added the word " . . . language."
On another occasion White recalled she was wearing a long dress to work..
"Meier told me I should wear something SHORTER. One day he said to me: "Don't we look APPETIZING today."
White contends the usual cover-up occurred, with the Barracks' bumbling PAO, Lt. Col. James MacNeil, repeating the mantra that "all charges made against Meier have been determined to be unfounded."
Gee. Wow! No kidding? The "brass hats" investigate themselves and come up empty-handed. Why are we not surprised? Perhaps a better question is: WHY ARE WE FOOLED by such an "obvious" result.
As for Mrs. White, the Carlisle woman was so "traumatized" by her treatment, first at the hands of her alleged sex harasser, and then by the Carlisle Barracks command, she was unable to work any more. Like Vanner, she was awarded a worker's compensation settlement relating to the abuse she suffered. White retired from her state job and has now left Pennsylvania.
PUT THEM ON THE WITNESS STAND AND WATCH THEM SQUIRM
If the Vanner case goes to a jury, as it looks like it will, lots of scandals and cover-ups at Carlisle Barracks may be dragged out into the open. It's unlikely the Army would allow such "sacred cows" as two retired generals to be hauled back into uniform and made to testify on a witness stand. But if it happened, just think of how "delicious" THAT would be!
The "DISCOVERY" phase of the trial itself would be worth "the price of admission." Lots of instances of "double-standards" and hypocrites manipulating the system for their own ends. Everyone likes to see the "emperor" exposed for having no clothes. Can we hope to see some retired generals shown to have no honor?
NOW, SCROLL DOWN THE HOMEPAGE FOR A LOOK AT THE LATEST "CARLISLE BARRACKS CAPERS" - ISSUE # 12. WE WANT TO WISH A MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL OUR FRIENDS IN THE ARMY WAR COLLEGE CLASS, ON THE FACULTY, IN THE GARRISON, AND OF COURSE, AT MHI. ALSO, WE COULDN'T EXIST WITHOUT ALL YOU WONDERFUL "C.I.'s" OUT THERE - YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE. SO GOD BLESS YOU, EACH AND EVERY ONE. AND TO OUR ENEMIES - BAH HUMBUG!
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