In December 2018, Micole A. Daugherty, then Machinist’s Mate 3rd Class, went out drinking with another sailor, referred to in court documents as “Seaman Recruit Warren” near Jacksonville, Florida.
The next day, Daugherty claimed Warren sexually assaulted her.
The truth, as it was later discovered, was that Daugherty overslept and missed her pre-deployment firefighting class the next morning.
“Panicked that her tardiness would get her in trouble, she had Seaman Recruit Warren punch her in the face and drive her to a wooded area near base, where she rolled around in the dirt to make it look as though she had been in a struggle,” court documents state, according to Navy Times. “(Daugherty) then went to the base gate and told the security personnel she had been drinking with a man at a club and later woke up in the bushes outside the gate with pain in her vagina.”
Daugherty told the Naval Criminal Investigative Service about the incident, prompting an extensive investigation that included agents and forensic analysts spending more than 400 hours looking into her claims. These agents and analysts collected DNA evidence from the suspect, Warren, “extensively” interviewed him, and looked through his cell phone and vehicle. Eventually, security camera footage revealed that Daugherty was making up her claims.
She was charged with filing a false report, which is all any woman gets charged with after lying about sexual assault, even if they accused a specific person of the heinous crime. During her trial, Daugherty continued to cast the blame on Warren, claiming the whole thing was his idea “and that she only participated in the scheme because she was afraid of Seaman Recruit Warren,” court documents said.
During his testimony, Warren said Daugherty told him to “bruise her up’ because she could not ‘go in this late without something being wrong with [her].’”
Daugherty was convicted on charges of “conspiring with another Sailor to manufacture injuries and falsely reporting she was drugged and raped to avoid getting in trouble for missing a training class,” according to court documents. The Navy Times reported that she was “sentenced to seven months’ confinement, a reduction in rank to E-1 and a bad-conduct discharge.”
Daugherty appealed the conviction, but it was upheld in August, the Navy Times reported.
While politicians claim sexual assault in the military is rampant, there are many times when such accusations turn out to be false — and the military’s investigations are set up to limit due process protections.
One of the most famous recent examples of a military false accusation is the story of Col. David “Wil” Riggins, who was falsely accused of sexual assault in 2013 by a woman who claimed the attack occurred decades earlier, when the two were cadets at West Point. Eventually, the false accuser, Susan Shannon, was ordered to pay Riggins $8.4 million in damages.
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