More on the disturbing case of Jene Newsome, the decorated lesbian Air Force sergeant discharged in January 2010 under "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." Detectives with the Rapid City (SD) Police Department outed Newsome to her superiors at Ellsworth Air Force Base, which led to her dismissal. Newsome will now sue Rapid City and the Rapid City Police Department over the outing, reports the Rapid City Journal.
"Given the city of Rapid City's unwillingness to acknowledge the wrongful and unlawful acts done by ... members of the police department, we have no choice but to file a lawsuit against the city of Rapid City in federal court," says attorney Jeffrey Fransen.
Newsome's case first came to light in March, when the American Civil Liberties Union of South Dakota sent a letter to Mayor Alan Hanks alleging the police department had violated Newsome's privacy and constitutional rights by sharing information about her sexual orientation with Air Force officials. In the March 19 letter, ACLU executive director Robert Doody asked the police department to pay damages and issue an apology to Newsome, along with reprimanding the officers involved in the incident and changing department policy to ban the release of information about military members' sexuality.
The incident in question occurred Nov. 20, 2009, when officers, in the course of serving an out-of-state felony arrest warrant on charges of grand theft for Cheryl Hutson, noticed an Iowa marriage certificate with Hutson and Newsome's names on it at their home. That detail was included in the police report, a document that Garinger later shared with the Office of Special Investigation at Ellsworth. Stauffacher was also involved in the arrest.
The Rapid City Police Dept. claims the officer was not being spiteful and followed department protocol. Newsome told KOTA-TV the detective told her "he knew how the military worked" and implied she would be discharged. "I played by 'don't ask, don't tell,' " Newsome says. "I just don't agree with what the Rapid City Police Department did. ... They violated a lot of internal policies on their end, and I feel like my privacy was violated."
In Marc 2010, Defense Secretary Robert Gates announced more "humane" changes to DADT enforcement. But third party outings are still grounds for discharge, as the discharges by Sgt. Jene Newsome and Lt. Robin R. Chaurasiya have demonstrated.
You May Want to Read:
Editorial: Newsome's Discharge Motivated by "Spite"
Chief: Officers Followed Protocol to Out Air Force Sgt
Air Force Sgt Discharged Under "Don't Ask" Files Complaint
Rapid City PD to "Tighten" Policies After Outed Air Force Sgt