National Security

Coast Guard Official Resigns, Says She Was Told To Help With Cover-Up

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Shannon Norenberg, the former Sexual Assault Response Coordinator (SARC) at the United States Coast Guard Academy, resigned, citing a Coast Guard cover-up of an alleged rash of sexual assaults at the academy in a Sunday letter.

Norenberg describes her role in Operation Fouled Anchor (OFA), a mission that consisted of an apology tour across the nation where she and other Coast Guard officials would meet with former members of the branch who were allegedly victims of sexual assault at the academy in the letter.

Norenberg was brought on the tour to offer support to the victims and was initially told to offer the victims a CG-6095 form, “which was the official form used to report sexual assault to the Coast Guard,” she explains.

Norenberg immediately thought it was strange the forms were being offered four years after the investigation into the alleged acts, she explains in the letter.

“Some victims were upset that the Coast Guard had ripped open the wounds they had received at the Academy all those years ago, only to take no action against the perpetrators in the end,” Norenberg writes.

She embarked on the tour with two other Coast Guard officials in 2019 and met with between 25 and 30 victims over a four to five month period, she explains.

“The meetings were very emotional. Many of the victims we met with cried throughout the meetings. One of the things the victims were most angry about was that none of their perpetrators had ever been held accountable for the crimes they’d committed. That anger at the lack of accountability was a consistent theme during the meetings,” she claims in her letter.

Though she was initially told to offer the victims the CG-6095 form, she alleges the Coast Guard decided at the last minute to not offer the forms to them.

The forms, she explains, are crucial for victims to “obtain services from the VA to deal with their trauma.”

“The CG-6095 is proof for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (“VA”) that the victim reported a sexual assault that occurred while they were in the military,” Norenberg writes.

Norenberg alleges in the letter that the Coast Guard intentionally neglected to offer the forms to victims because if they did she would have been obligated to officially enter the string of assaults into the Coast Guards online record system, the Defense Sexual Assault Incident Database (DSAID).

“Entering dozens of sexual assault cases into DSAID would have led to a huge spike in cases at the Coast Guard Academy, and this massive spike in reported cases of sexual assault at the Coast Guard Academy would have been seen by everyone, but especially by Congress,” she claims.

“To prevent Operation Fouled Anchor from being discovered by Congress, Coast Guard leaders deliberately withheld VA military sexual trauma benefits and services from the survivors we were sent around to meet with,” she writes in bold.

She also alleges that the Coast Guard directly lied to victims who asked about whether or not their cases had been disclosed to the public or other agencies.

The operation, and the Coast Guard’s allegedly illegal use of non-disclosure agreements to silence victims, became breaking news in April when Republican Texas Sen. Ted Cruz wrote a letter to Commandant Adm. Linda Fagan condemning the alleged actions.

“Requiring victims to agree not to discuss what happened to them is particularly reprehensible,” Cruz wrote.

The breaking story reminded Norenberg of her involvement and, she claims in her letter, made her realize she had been used in a cover-up. (RELATED: After Coast Guard Academy ‘Excommunicated’ Cadets For Refusing Vaccine, Pleas For Reinstatement Go Unanswered)

“We weren’t sent out there to help these people, I realized. We were sent out there as part of an elaborate coverup of Operation Fouled Anchor designed to hide the existence of the investigation from Congress and the public,” she writes.

“The whole thing was a cruel coverup at the expense of the victims, with the entire purpose being to preserve the image of the Coast Guard and avoid scandal. And the Coast Guard used me as part of their plan,” she writes in bold again.

Norenberg expresses her disgust over her involvement profusely. “I am absolutely sick about this, and I’m sickened that the Coast Guard has forced me into this position.”

“The Coast Guard lied to me. Worse than that, they used me to lie to victims, used me to silence victims, and used me in a coordinated effort to discourage victims of sexual assault at the Academy from speaking to Congress about their assaults and about the Coast Guard’s investigation of their cases,” she writes.

She explicitly apologizes to the victims of the alleged cover-up in the letter.