FORT LEE, VA (WWBT) - Fort Lee took immediate steps to investigate an alleged rape on the base, but the U.S. Army sergeant accused of raping a woman will never be prosecuted. That woman says Fort Lee is prolonging her pain.
Kimberly Cary met her alleged assailant on an online dating site.
"He threw me onto the bed. I was yelling at him to stop. No. Get off. He would just tell me to relax and stop being so tense.
He was a cute U.S. Army Sergeant and member of the 75th Ranger Regiment First Battalion, based at Hunter Army Airfield, Savannah, Georgia.
"He had my head shoved in the pillow," Cary said. "I couldn't breathe. He was suffocating me. If it happened for another 30 seconds I might not have been here."
Army rangers are a lethal special operations force, experts in raids, capture and destroy, assault missions.
Sgt. Jacknael Abdiel Vazquez was in Virginia for more training at Fort Lee. Cary says they enjoyed karaoke at a restaurant after chatting online for a week then he invited her to his living quarters so they could get to know each other.
"It was on base. I figured nothing is going to happen on base," Cary said. "That's one of the safest places to be, on a military base."
Cary says he raped her October 1, 2014. Her medical diagnosis from two hospitals is sexual assault and Fort Lee's own final report cites probable cause to believe rape of an adult by force.
"When he was trying to put stuff in my mouth, Why didn't I just bite him? If I had bitten him it would have given me a minute or two to get away or, it could have made it a lot worse," she said.
Hours after his interrogation, Kimberly says Fort Lee told her Vazquez drove to Georgia and shot himself after writing a suicide note that said, "Not Guilty. Rangers lead the Way."
"I'm a mess. Every day, I'm crying every day because I feel guilty because he killed himself," Cary said. "But, then, I'm lucky to be alive because he could have easily killed me and they told me that."
Why won't the military pay for therapy and give her what she needs to recover? Fort Lee issued a statement that says in part, "Civilians with no association with the Army are not eligible to receive military services. We make every effort to refer the individual to local social service and medical providers."
Former military officer and lawyer Megan Scanlon says Fort Lee has discretion and the budget to provide Cary services despite regulation.
"She counted on that and the soldier's suicide shouldn't have any impact on that," Scanlon said. "Now that he's no longer with us and no longer in the military, she's no longer going to have a trial to attend, and there will be no outcome of any type of action against him. So, she is no longer of any importance to the post or to the military."
It's over for the deceased sergeant and Fort Lee. "They're on the bottom of my shoe to put it nicely. I have nothing nice to say about them now because they ignore me and they act like it doesn't matter," Cary said.
But Cary packs her purse with mace and self-defense weapons. Every thought she says is tied to October 1.
"When I do sleep, I see him. Even now I'm whimpering and twitching and I'm fighting in my sleep. Like I see him everywhere," Cary said. "I just don't feel normal. The military promised me treatment and anything that I needed, and they haven't done anything for me."
Cary is also trying to get charity help through Virginia's Victim Compensation Fund but says Fort Lee hasn't filed the necessary report, so her application for services was denied. Fort Lee says the Army maintains zero tolerance for sexual assault and takes every case seriously.
Col. Paul Brooks said Fort Lee wants to be transparent but says they can't get into details and must protect all alleged victims. Fort Lee also said it needed Kimberly's written permission. She gave it but still Fort Lee declined an interview.