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4 Women in Tailhook Case File Suits

September 09, 1992| From Reuters

LAS VEGAS — Four women who say they were sexually assaulted at a naval aviators' convention have filed multimillion-dollar damage claims against the Navy, their lawyers said Tuesday.

In the first legal action stemming from the Tailhook scandal, the women also filed separate lawsuits in Las Vegas Superior Court on Tuesday against Hilton Hotels and the Tailhook Assn., accusing them of negligence for allowing the attacks to take place.

The four were among more than 25 women, including at least a dozen Navy officers, who told Navy investigators they were groped and fondled by dozens of drunken, cheering aviators on Sept. 7, 1991, in a crowded hallway at the Las Vegas Hilton.

Las Vegas lawyer Cal Potter said the four filed federal tort claims with the Navy Department last Wednesday in which each sought more than $2.5 million in damages.

They alleged they were victims of battery, sexual assault and sexual harassment at last year's convention and suffered emotional distress and mental anguish, Potter said.

The Defense Department is investigating hundreds of Navy and Marine fliers, and the scandal has brought the Navy under fire for tolerating sexual harassment in its ranks.

Navy Secretary H. Lawrence Garrett III was forced to resign soon after the Tailhook allegations came to light.

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