A dedicated Army National Guard soldier who served overseas took her own life after she was repeatedly subject to sexual assault, her superiors reportedly turning a blind eye despite her reporting the crimes.
Staff Sgt. Morgan Robinson died by suicide in 2018 at the age of 29. Two years earlier, she was sexually assaulted while stationed in Kuwait in 2016. Four months before her death, she was also gang-raped by her supposed comrades in Afghanistan.
And now, the young officer’s mother Debbie Robinson is speaking out about what she sees as an absolute lack of accountability and failure to pursue justice for the horrible ordeal her daughter suffered.
That failure to halt the torturous abuse her daughter faced ultimately robbed her of her life, Debbie contends.
“To think that that’s what took her life — that’s what broke her,” Debbie told investigative reporters with CBS. “They wanted her body. And they took her soul.”
According to Debbie, from an early age Morgan had wanted to serve in the U.S. Armed Forces. When she finally turned 21 in 2010, she enlisted in the Army National Guard.
When she finally went on her first deployment to the Middle East, however, the horror that she faced wasn’t in battle or at the hands of a foreign enemy – instead, she “was sexually assaulted and continually harassed by one of her superiors.”
When Morgan tried to report the multiple sexual assaults that she was subject to, her chain of command did “nothing” to punish her supervisor or offer any sort of protection or support, her mother said.
“She got nothing,” Debbie said.
Morgan, who had a child back home and was engaged to get married, was then sent to Afghanistan while on the same deployment.
When she arrived to Afghanistan, she was then gang-raped by multiple soldiers. Disillusioned and scared to report the atrocious act, Morgan killed herself four months later.
Debbie herself knew that her daughter was “very scared” to report the gang rape “because they threatened her.”
“And number two, she knew that it wouldn’t go anywhere. Nothing happened in Kuwait with the sexual assault and the harassment, so why would they do something, you know, in Afghanistan?” Debbie said.
When the Army finally investigated her tragic death, Debbie finally received a report – but most of the crucial details had been blacked out.
Those sections that weren’t redacted read: “Sergeant Robinson suffered sexual, physical, and psychological trauma while deployed. The sequel of this trauma was a factor in her death.”
Debbie was shocked that the military would be so shameless as to give her the redaction-riddled report.
“I just didn’t understand how they could actually stand there and look me in the eyes, and hand that to me,” she said.
Debbie squarely blames Army leadership for their abject failure to take her daughter’s first sexual assault allegation seriously and “handle what happened,” paving the way to the horrible incident in Afghanistan.
“And to think that that’s what took her life. That’s what broke her,” she said. “They wanted her body. And they took her soul.”
For Debbie, the situation clearly shows the need for an outside agency to investigate these claims and break through what appears to be a code of silence protecting offenders.
“They can’t police their self,” she said. “How can you investigate yourself? You can’t.”
The officer who attacked Morgan in Kuwait finally received a written reprimand eight months after she took her own life, which Debbie decried as a slap on the wrist that came far too late.
“[It was] a job that she loved. It was for her country,” Morgan said. “Everything just plays over and over and over in [my] head, thinking, ‘Did I miss something? Could I have done something?’”
In a statement, the Army defended its actions and said that the disciplinary actions against the offending supervisor were “appropriate.”
“The department remains committed to our goals of ending sexual assault in the military, providing the highest quality response to service members and holding offenders appropriately accountable,” said U.S. Army principal policy adviser Elizabeth Van Winkle.
However, following the release of the report, the Secretary of the Army acknowledged that Army leadership had failed Morgan Robinson.
“This topic has captivated the attention of America and our Army leaders and it is abundantly clear — we must do better,” Sec. Ryan D. McCarthy said, according to a tweet from CBS Evening News.
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