SOLDIER WHO ALLEGED HARASSMENT SAYS SHE TRIED SUICIDE — (Washington Post)

Original article no longer available

Washington Post

January 28, 1997

Author: Associated Press[]

The female soldier whose allegations sparked the Army’s sex scandal at Aberdeen Proving Ground said she tried to kill herself last week in a desperate bid to get out of the service.   “I wanted some way to get out of the Army. I would have done just about anything to get out,” Jessica Bleckley, 18, said today on ABC’s “Good Morning America.”

Bleckley left the Army on Friday after being granted an honorable discharge for hardship reasons.  She told “Good Morning America” that she was admitted to Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington after  she swallowed 25 Prozac pills. She said she took the pills after learning that she would not be allowed to transfer to a base outside the United States.

Bleckley said she thought assignment to a base outside the country was her only hope of not being ostracized by fellow soldiers and superiors in light of her allegations.  “If that’s what it took, I would rather be dead than put up with anything else,” she said.

Bleckley served less than a year in the Army before her allegations of sexual harassment rocked Aberdeen Proving Ground and the rest of the Army in November.  Since then, four instructors at the post north of Baltimore have been charged with sexual crimes including rape, sexual harassment and adultery involving more than a dozen female recruits.

Bleckley said the trouble started in May, after she rejected the advances of a married drill instructor. He threatened to kill her if she revealed the unwanted advances, she said.

She said about nine other higher-ranking soldiers — mostly drill sergeants — also made unwanted advances toward her and that as recently as two weeks ago, another staff sergeant made sexual advances to her. The Army said it is investigating that allegation.

Record Number:  773419