A woman who accused a former Army colonel of raping her when they were both cadets at West Point in 1986 has been ordered to pay him $8.4 million. A jury in Virginia sided with Col. David "Wil" Riggins against blogger Susan Shannon in Riggins' defamation lawsuit, the Washington Post reports. Riggins was about to be promoted to brigadier general in 2013 when Shannon made the accusations on her Short Little Rebel blog. He was removed from the promotion list, despite the Army's Criminal Investigative Division concluding that it could not "prove or disprove Ms. Shannon’s allegation she was raped." Riggins retired soon afterward and sued Shannon, saying her account was "provably false."
The jury deliberated for less than three hours before ordering Shannon to pay $3.4 million in compensation for damage to his reputation and $5 million in punitive damages, the Post reports. The final settlement is likely to be reduced to $2.3 million under Virginia law. Shannon's testimony was so flawed that "we thought who was telling the truth was too obvious to be discussing," says juror Marshall Reinsdorf. "We held a vote, and everybody believed the colonel. The only argument was how big the damages were going to be." He says they decided on $5 million damages to make sure "nothing like this will ever happen again." Shannon, a mother of three, insists that she was telling the truth and says she now feels like she is Riggins' "financial slave for life." (Read more US military stories.)