If you are going to accuse someone of rape, you better be sure you have named the right person! Army Colonel David “Wil’ Riggins was on the verge of being promoted to brigadier general when a female blogger from Washington state accused him of rape. The two had been cadets at West Point in 1986.

Back in 2013, Shannon made false rape accusations on her Short Little Rebel blog that cost Riggins his promotion. He was removed from the promotion list, despite the Army’s Criminal Investigative Division concluding that it could not “prove or disprove Ms. Shannon’s allegation she was raped.” Riggins retired soon afterward and sued Shannon, saying her account was “provably false.”

Four years later, after Riggins had been denied his promotion based on the claim, a jury heard Riggins’ suit against Shannon and awarded him $8.4 million in damages, according to The Washington Post.

The jury deliberated for less than three hours before ordering Shannon to pay $3.4 million in compensation for damage to his reputation and $5 million in punitive damages,

Shannon’s testimony was so flawed that “we thought who was telling the truth was too obvious to be discussing,” says juror Marshall Reinsdorf. “We held a vote, and everybody believed the colonel. The only argument was how big the damages were going to be.”

He says they decided on $5 million damages to make sure “nothing like this will ever happen again.” Shannon, a mother of three, insists that she was telling the truth and says she now feels like she is Riggins’ “financial slave for life.”

Riggins said that even though he was exonerated, he still suffered irreparable damage from the false claim.

This journey we’ve been on the last four years,” Riggins said, “it’s been a nightmare. … The large dollar amount is meaningless. All I was looking for was the opportunity to be vindicated, to set the record straight, to take every action to get my reputation back to where it was before the 15th of July, when she published that false accusation.”

Shannon entered West Point in 1983 and resigned in 1986. She never mentioned being raped until 2013. In a blog post, she named Riggins as her rapist and said she was drunk at the time. Despite Riggins’s denials, she has maintained that she told the truth in her blog post.

“Frankly the day I started saying his name was the day I started blaming him instead of myself,” Shannon told WJLA.

More details of this story from AWM:

A blog post entitled “Short Little Rebel” describes how Riggins allegedly took advantage of Shannon after she drank too much beer at Eisenhower Hall and blacked out from the alcohol. When he found her in a vulnerable state, Shannon claims that the Colonel raped her without remorse.

“I felt the need to tell the story about a rape of a soldier I personally know: that soldier is me,” the post read. “The man who raped me, Will riggings [sic], class of 1987, is now a Colonel in the Army. The rape is the reason I left West Point. So, while his military career is soaring, I left mine far behind.”

However, Riggins claims that Shannon’s story could not be true. Not only was beer forbidden on campus at the time, but he also did not have a vehicle to drive her home that night.

“When pressed on the details as to what happened, Susan Shannon does not state that she actually recalls the alleged rape by David W. Riggins,” the lawsuit stated.” Rather, she only asserts that she woke up the next morning and concluded that she had sexual intercourse with someone the night before.”

Instead, Riggins admitted that he dated Shannon before she left West Point to pursue a medical degree.

Watch the video below for more details:

Sources: AWM, The Washington Post, WJLA

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