This Veteran was sexually assaulted in the service.
Result: Service connection for PTSD resulting from in-service sexual assault.
Due to the sensitive nature of the trauma, this Veteran never said anything about the incident. He was eventually discharged from the service in the late 1960s. The Veteran tried to deal with the situation by himself, never telling anyone about it. His difficulties resulted in a failed marriage and many difficulties with co-workers on the job. Eventually, the problem became too severe and he began seeking help at the VA.
Most of the VA treating psychologists recognized his symptoms as being consistent with someone who had sustained military sexual trauma. Nevertheless, the VA denied his claim on the grounds that there was no proof that the sexual trauma happened. All he had was his word, and the statements from friends and family who testified that they noticed an immediate change in his behavior upon returning from the service.
The Veteran hired us to represent him before the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims. We discovered that the Board considered the statements of all his friends and family except for his wife. His wife had provided a statement to support her husband’s claim. The Board overlooked this statement. We capitalized on this mistake and successfully got the case remanded back to the Board.
On remand to the Board, we were able to obtain a letter from his treating social worker at the VA. The social worker concluded that the Veteran’s symptoms were consistent with someone who had experienced sexual trauma. We filed additional arguments and submitted the additional evidence. The result: The Board granted service connection for PTSD as a result of the in-service sexual assault.