Lt. Col. Victor Fehrenbach Outed by False Claims of Rape

Since Lt. Col. Victor Fehrenbach first went public as a potential victim of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, he’s made it clear that he’d been private with his gender preference, not telling anyone in his unit. The only thing he’d say was that he was that his 18 years of exemplary service were interrupted by a “civilian acquaintance,” so I had to wonder what in the world could’ve happened.

Yesterday the Idaho Statesman shared the situation and it’s worse than I could’ve imagined.

Fehrenbach, stationed at Mountain Home Air Force Base, was in a Catch-22. To clear himself of the claim he’d raped a man, Fehrenbach could tell police his side of the story. But admitting he’d had consensual sex could get him kicked out of the Air Force he loved after 18 years.

Fehrenbach asked Detective Mark Vucinich whether his employer had a right to see his statement. Yes, replied Vucinich.

Fehrenbach then told the detective he had sex with Cameron Shaner on May 12, 2008. He’d met Shaner, 30, on a gay Web site and invited him to his southeast Boise home.

Fehrenbach was soon cleared by police and the Ada County prosecutor’s office. The Air Force Office of Special Investigations subsequently found no violation of the Uniform Code of Military Justice. AFOSI concluded that Fehrenbach and Shaner had consensual sex, and that Shaner was an “unreliable source of information.”

But the Air Force wasn’t done: Fehrenbach’s admission he’d had gay sex was a violation of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law.

Reporter Dan Popkey goes on to tell how Cameron Shaner changed his lie several times, falsely claimed to be an informant for the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, and made false allegations of “HIV parties.”

How he can keep smiling I'll never know
How he can keep smiling I'll never know

Lt. Col. Fehrenbach faced a double persecution, first when Cameron Shaner falsely accused him of rape, then when the US Air Force decided that defending himself was grounds for firing. No straight soldier would be subjected to this. It wouldn’t be dreamt of.

This has to stop. President Obama agrees that it has to stop. Defense Secretary Gates agrees that it has to stop. Congressional leaders agree that it has to stop. The only thing in our way is the unwillingness to spend political capital on ending a discriminatory, shameful, Un-American law.

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10 thoughts on “Lt. Col. Victor Fehrenbach Outed by False Claims of Rape

  1. You guys are all missing the real point here.A servicemember with age, power and experience lured a desperate lonely disabled veteran to his home and raped him. The perfect crime. Who's going to believe the victim?This has nothing to do with DON'T ASK, DON'T TELL… It's simply abuse of the disabled, and yields sympathy for the perpetrator by disguising the crime as homophobia. Rape has nothing to do with sex OR sexual preference. Wake up, banner carriers !

  2. I have a feeling you're winding me up, but just in case and for the sake of clarity, all evidence points to a different conclusion, that Cameron Shaner made a false accusation of rape.

  3. You guys are all missing the real point here.A servicemember with age, power and experience lured a desperate lonely disabled veteran to his home and raped him. The perfect crime. Who's going to believe the victim?This has nothing to do with DON'T ASK, DON'T TELL… It's simply abuse of the disabled, and yields sympathy for the perpetrator by disguising the crime as homophobia. Rape has nothing to do with sex OR sexual preference. Wake up, banner carriers !

  4. I have a feeling you're winding me up, but just in case and for the sake of clarity, all evidence points to a different conclusion, that Cameron Shaner made a false accusation of rape.

  5. You guys are all missing the real point here.A servicemember with age, power and experience lured a desperate lonely disabled veteran to his home and raped him. The perfect crime. Who's going to believe the victim?This has nothing to do with DON'T ASK, DON'T TELL… It's simply abuse of the disabled, and yields sympathy for the perpetrator by disguising the crime as homophobia. Rape has nothing to do with sex OR sexual preference. Wake up, banner carriers !

  6. I have a feeling you're winding me up, but just in case and for the sake of clarity, all evidence points to a different conclusion, that Cameron Shaner made a false accusation of rape.

  7. Why am I trying to wind you up? Everybody else is already all wound up over this.It's rape when you say NO… Regardless as to who contacts who first or even who pulls their pants off.Military officers of 18 years can rape young physically and emotionally damaged young men as well as anyone else.Do YOU know the officer? Well enough to be sure?I KNOW CAMERON SHANER, and I hope to heck you are never alone with that EX-officer.

  8. I’m stationed at MHAFB, I know this story just as good as anyone else on the base. Lt Col Fehrenbach didn’t rape him. They both agreed to have relations. The USAF’s problem with this is not mainly because they were gay, it was mostly because it was an officer and enlisted “unprofessional relationship”. Trust me, if they were kicking him out because he was gay, they wouldn’t let you know about it because they would know they were in the wrong especially with DADT going away.

  9. I too hope that DADT goes the way of the trash in the dumpster. I also was a gay man in the USAF and know the tremendous anxiety one goes through while serving in the military. It’s like the homophobic sword of Damacles constantly hanging over your head never knowing when it will drop, you just have to move on and do your best at work and hope for the best. I don’t know Fehrenbach or Shaner. But Shaner should have know something sexual was going to happen, and if he did he should never have gone over to Fehrenbach’s place. Come on he can’t be that naive, plus he changed his story several times. What I can say to Officer Victor Fehrenbach is, please be careful whom you invite over to your place, get to know him really well , invest a few bucks in a background check, go slow, some guys either gay or straight are cunning and devious and will hurt anyone for a few dollars. I’m with you all the way Officer Fehrenbach.

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