- Glen Milner, Seattle Draft and
Military Counseling Center
Four years of involvement with counter-recruiting issues in the
Shoreline School District has uncovered a number of sexual harassment
cases involving U.S. Army recruiters and female high school students.
If not for the close scrutiny recruiters were receiving from activists
and the media, it is doubtful the incidents of sexual harassment
would have been made public. The question remains ó how common
is the sexual harassment of female students in our schools by
Shoreline School District has two high schools and is located
immediately north of Seattle. The neighborhoods in the district
are middle to upper-middle class. Generally, military service
is viewed as not the best choice here, but an acceptable choice
In 1995, parents of students at Shorecrest High School asked
for equal access for activists with an alternative view to military
service. We had discovered that military recruiters had no restrictions
on access to students in the district. Recruiters could be seen
in the gym after school and uniformed soldiers even instructed
some of the class periods, but the schools would not allow leaflets
with an opposing view to military service in the career centers.
Eventually, the media became interested in our efforts and began
carrying articles about military recruitment in public schools.
Finally, in June 1997, Shorecrest High School agreed to allow
us to display four different leaflets in its career center.
In the 1997-1998 school year, we tried to persuade Shoreline
School District to develop a policy on military recruitment and
equal access for alternative views. Again, the media covered school
board meetings and our efforts to establish a policy for equal
access. During this time, a local reporter noticed a police report
regarding a 17-year-old female Shorecrest High student who was
sexually assaulted by a 36-year-old Army recruiter.
On January 8, 1998, Sergeant Rodney L. White had taken April
Parcells, a female student, off campus to a park, where he put
her hand on his crotch, pulled up her shirt and asked her to have
sex. He drove Ms. Parcells to numerous locations over several
hours while refusing to take her home. The next day, Sergeant
White returned to Shorecrest High School and asked her not to
tell anyone. The family reported the incident immediately to the
Army and was assured the recruiter would be properly investigated.
After more than a month of no action from the Army, the family
reported the incident to the King County Sheriffís office and
Sergeant White was arrested. An investigation by Shorecrest High
School revealed that sexual harassment had taken place during
numerous incidents in December 1997 and January 1998.
The Army later convinced King County prosecutors that the recruiter
would be properly tried in the military justice system and the
county charges were dropped. On March 11-12, 1999, Sergeant Rodney
White was acquitted of four charges of failing to obey an order,
five charges for indecent assault and three charges for indecent
language in a court-martial at Fort Lewis, Washington. The Army
did not allow any witnesses in support of the two female students
involved. One victimís mother, Paula Danielson, afterward said,
"They gave us a snow job." The Army called the case an "isolated
incident," promoted Rodney White to Staff Sergeant 1st Class,
and sent him to a post in Kentucky.
A Freedom of Information Act request to the U.S. Army on the
incident brought the release of a Commanderís Inquiry dated February
5, 1998. The report by an Army investigator recommended that Sergeant
White and a second Army recruiter, the sergeant in charge of the
recruiting station at 150th and Aurora Ave. N., should both be
removed from duty for improper relations with female students.
The Commanderís Inquiry of February 5, 1998 further recommended
the U.S. Army Recruiting Battalion Seattle "do quarterly training
on both sexual harassment and prohibitive activities in USAREC
IAW USAREC Reg 600-25 to ensure all personnel understand behavior
of this nature is unacceptable."
On May 26, 1999, a third Army recruiter from the same station
in Shoreline picked up a 16-year-old female student on her way
to school, bought her a pack of cigarettes, took her to her house
and asked to have sex with her. A police report was filed against
the 29-year-old recruiter in the City of Shoreline.
This incident prompted the Shoreline Schools Superintendent,
Marlene Holayter, on August 19, 1999, to ban the Army from recruiting
at the two high schools in the Shoreline School District.
When the third Army recruiter was brought to trial on February
3, 2000, for communicating with a minor for immoral purposes,
the charges were dropped. The prosecutor for the City of Shoreline
had determined that even if the charges were proven, the 16-year-old
student was at the legal age of consent. The recruiter was determined
not to be in a "position of trust" as in the case of school teachers.
The Army discharged the recruiter for medical reasons before the
trial in Shoreline. He is now a corrections officer in Colorado.
Throughout these related incidents, Lt. Colonel David Hagg, Commander
of the U.S. Army Recruiting Battalion Seattle, maintained that
such events in Shoreline were rare. On August 26, 1999, Lt. Colonel
Hagg told a Seattle Post-Intelligencer reporter, "This
is not a pattern; this is a very rare occurrence." School administrators
and parents in Washington, Oregon and Alaska, where Lt. Colonel
Hagg has command of Army recruiting, might believe it if not for
another outrageous incident involving his staff of recruiters.
On October 29, 1999, during a three-day workshop in Olympia,
Washington for 250 Army recruiters of the Seattle Recruiting Battalion,
a 20-year-old female recruiter was sexually assaulted by fellow
Army recruiters. It is believed the assault may have involved
three male recruiters. The female victim was treated and released
from St. Peterís Hospital.
The Army is still investigating the sexual assault of its own
female recruiter. No information can be released by either the
Olympia Police or the U.S. Army while the investigation is in
process. Lt. Colonel Hagg told a Seattle Times reporter
on November 1, 1999, "I told her Iím not about to try to cover
anything up. Obviously, Iím hoping there was no assault, for her
How common is the sexual harassment of female students by Army
recruiters? It is certain the problem will remain until the U.S.
Army spends more time on solving the problem than trying to deny
The position of the Seattle Draft and Military Counseling Center
is that sexual assault and sexual harassment of female recruits
by U.S. Army recruiters is a reflection of the tolerance for sexual
abuse allowed by commanders. School districts need to regulate
unsupervised recruiter visits and parents should insist that schools
provide some kind of monitoring system, particularly for female
student contacts with recruiters.
Glen Milner is the father of two children who graduated from
Shorecrest High School. He is a member of the Seattle Draft and
Military Counseling Center, an organization that counsels young
men and women considering military service and persons in the
military and is a member of the GI Rights Hotline. Website: www.scn.org/ip/sdmcc.
This article is from Draft NOtices, the newsletter
of the Committee Opposed to Militarism and the Draft (www.comdsd.org).