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Thursday, May 28, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Soldier Leaves After Scandal Her Allegations Sparked Investigation By Army

By Associated Press

A female soldier who went public with her allegations that a drill sergeant at Aberdeen Proving Ground sexually harassed her and threatened to kill her if she told is leaving the Army.

The woman’s claims sparked an investigation last November into the worst military sex scandal since Tailhook.

Jessica Bleckley, 18, was granted an honorable discharge for hardship reasons and will be leaving Monday, Rachel McDonald, a spokeswoman for Aberdeen Proving Ground, said late Friday.

“She has requested a discharge and it has been granted,” she said.

Bleckley was probably headed back to her home in South Carolina, McDonald said.

Since Bleckley’s allegations, 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.

In the scandal’s latest development, an instructor at Aberdeen Proving Ground was charged earlier this week with adultery and sodomy involving two female trainees and one female civilian.

The charges were the first to emerge from a continuing investigation that began after a captain and two drill sergeants at the Ordnance School were charged with rape and other crimes in November.

Staff Sgt. Delmar Simpson, who is being held in a military prison in Quantico, Va. faces the most serious charges. He is charged with raping 10 women in 1995 and 1996.

The two other drill sergeants charged in the sex scandal remain at Aberdeen but have been reassigned.

In early January, a private facing a court-martial within days for an alleged rape at Aberdeen was found dead in his barracks, an apparent suicide.

McDonald said the Army did not resist Bleckley’s request for a discharge. “Our goal since these allegations came to light is to care for the soldiers,” McDonald said. “When she requested her discharge the Army felt it was an effective way to care for her.”

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