An 18-year-old female Army recruit at Aberdeen Proving Ground said last night that she was pressured into having sex with two drill sergeants, one of whom said he would kill her by cutting her throat if she told authorities.
Jessica Bleckley told ABC's "20/20" that she had sex with Sgts. Nathanael C. Beach and Delmar G. Simpson, two of three Aberdeen instructors facing courts-martial in the sex scandal at the Maryland base.
According to a transcript of the broadcast, Bleckley said Beach made numerous, unwanted advances toward her. She relented to having sex with Beach after he closed the door to his office and began to hug and kiss her. Later, Beach began to terrorize her when she tried to stop his further sexual advances by threatening to go to authorities, she says
"He started calling and saying he would kill me," Bleckley said in the ABC transcript. "If I told anybody that, he would cut my throat, that he, um, knew ways of killing people where no one would find out."
Beach, a Persian Gulf war veteran, has claimed he is innocent of the allegations. The sergeant could not be reached for comment last night.
But his lawyer, Capt. Vincent Avallone, said last night that the sergeant denies Bleckley's allegations. "He denied having sex, he denied threatening her, he denied coercion," the lawyer said.
The 32-year-old noncommissioned officer is accused of adultery, communicating a threat to a female soldier and fraternization, according to Army charging documents, which offer no specifics.
Under Army regulations, adultery is a crime and fraternization, such as consensual sex, is prohibited between a superior and a subordinate.
Bleckley, a South Carolina native who joined the Army in December 1995 as a way to pay for college, also said Simpson once ordered her to the bathroom.
"A few minutes later he came in behind me and that's when he started to tell me to do certain things," she said.
"To disrobe?" asked ABC reporter Tom Jarriel. "Mmmmm-hmmmm," Bleckley replied affirmatively.
Jarriel reported that in a sworn statement to investigators Bleckley describes having intercourse with Simpson on a bathroom floor. "Bleckley said she never screamed, never said, 'No' only that she was traumatized," Jarriel said.
"When you had sex in the bathroom, was it something you wanted?" Jarriel asked.
"No," Bleckley said.
"And did you resist?" he asked.
"Yes," she said.
Simpson, 31, who is married and has two children, is accused of raping three female soldiers, although he is not charged with raping Bleckley. Simpson also faces charges of sodomy, assault and consensual sex with others. A total of eight female recruits are involved in his charges.
Simpson is being held in a military jail. His lawyer couldn't be reached last night for comment.
"One girl actually clawed" Simpson, Bleckley said on the "20/20" program. "And he was bleeding. She left a scar, and that's how they used knowledge she was telling the truth. And all these girls -- their lives have just been completely torn up by this."
Bleckley said 10 noncommissioned officers made sexual advances toward her and many were married men.
Meanwhile, Bleckley told a South Carolina newspaper, the Anderson Independent Mail, this week that the abuse against her started in May when she refused the Beach's advances.
In late June, according to the newspaper report, Bleckley said she reported the harassment to military authorities. She was sent to see a psychiatrist at an on-base health facility.
"I told him what had happened, and he was like, 'Maybe it's your fault because you're so pretty,' " she told the newspaper. "It's like everywhere you go it's like a big circle. Something happens to you."
The experiences, Bleckley told ABC, have left her afraid and lacking trust in the Army, in which she will serve for a few more months. She joined the Army at 17, an age when her mother had to sign the enlistment papers.
"My mom signed for me to come in," she said.
"And my recruiter came and told my mom that everything would be fine. That the Army would take care of me."
Bleckley has said she had hoped to take night classes during her enlistment and eventually study at the University of Georgia. She plans to leave the Army in February with an honorable discharge, although Bleckley said Army officials told her she won't get the money for college.
"I came in thinking my future was secure, and it's not," she told the newspaper, adding that she has hired a lawyer to get her tuition money from the Army.
At least 17 female recruits are victims in a scandal that has led to the suspension of 20 instructors at the U.S. Ordnance Center and School at Aberdeen.
The Harford County base offers recruits instruction in maintaining small arms, vehicles and generators. The courses, lasting three to eight weeks, are given to recruits after they have completed basic training at other Army bases.
Pub Date: 11/16/96