ATLANTA (WGCL) — A navy veteran who says he was allegedly sexually assaulted in the military reached out to CBS46 nearly 40 years after his traumatic experience.
Charles Scwhable was awarded 70 percent disability benefits by the VA last year but that was just a tease. A few weeks later the VA came back and said they mistakenly gave him those benefits and ended up revoking them. Now his struggle with having been sexually assaulted has only gotten worse.
“I just shun myself from society,” said Scwhable.
Charles Schwable enlisted in the Navy in 1979 in hopes of becoming a career soldier. But at just 17 years old nothing could have prepared Schwable for the terror he experienced his first two weeks of boot camp at the RTC Orlando Base.
“My father’s brother served from 1933 to 1972 in the navy and my mother’s father served in world war 1 in the navy,” said Schwable. “I was held down in the middle of the night. I was on the bottom bunk and I was assaulted by 5 other recruits and socks up in my mouth and threatened with my life.”
Schwable says a second sexual assault happened days later. Thinking he’d get shunned for reporting it, he did the unimaginable. He was discharged from the military weeks later never speaking a word about the sexual assault until he reported it to his therapist in 2007.
“I tried to overdose, commit suicide,” said Schwable. “It just wasn’t spoke of back then. A man being assaulted by a group of other men is just unfathomable.”
Schwable’s been trying to get benefits since 2003. Through that time his life hit rock bottom. He’s now in recovery and earlier this year Schwable got a glimmer of hope. After Senator Jonny Isakson’s office contacted the VA on Scwhable’s behalf, he was awarded benefits.
That didn’t last long. Days later Scwable was told the VA mistakenly awarded him the benefits and revoked them.
“Who would want to serve this country when they have to fight the paperwork to get your benefits.”
Now nearly 40 years after his decision to join the navy, Schwable is still left with the question…why?