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Newsmonger

Newsmonger: Strip-club regs stalled, military still mishandling sexual assault reports

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Particularly alarming are problems with victim confidentiality. In theory, victims can report assault two ways, making either “unrestricted” reports — meaning survivors tells military law enforcement of the abuse, which in turn, hopefully, prompts medical care, counseling, and an investigation — or  “restricted” reports, where they can inform superiors without sparking an investigation, but still get medical care while remaining anonymous.

But as it stands, the system leaves “confusion for health care providers regarding the extent of their responsibility to maintain confidentiality of victims who choose to make a restricted report of sexual assault,” the report says. At least one base was not keeping victims' identities a secret, the report states.

“These inconsistencies can put DOD's restricted reporting option at risk, undermine DOD's efforts to address sexual assault issues, and erode service members' confidence,” the report says. “As a consequence, sexual assault victims who want to keep their case confidential may be reluctant to seek medical care.”

Egg-ceptionally odd

District 8 Council hopeful Rolando Briones is off to a strange, shaky start.

Briones was the subject of a glowing profile piece that appeared in San Antonio Man magazine's December/January issue, which largely lauded the success of Briones' construction firm, Briones Consulting & Engineering, Ltd. The piece leads with Briones telling us he was fired from the San Antonio Water System in 2002 when he refused to eat a raw egg during a bizarre team building exercise. The incident is mentioned as a turning point for Briones.

Express-News metro columnist Brian Chasnoff was the first to catch the claim, sniff it out, and call it bullshit. It never happened, Briones now says. He told the Current the whole flap was a “terrible, unfortunate misunderstanding,” that he never claimed the incident actually happened to him, and that he only used as a way to give the magazine “an impression of how bad things were” under then SAWS CEO Eugene Habiger, a retired Air Force General.

Even if you believe Briones, what's strange is that he let the falsehood sit, uncorrected, for nearly two months without trying to set the record straight. Even more strange is that he would do anything to call attention to his public, contentious departure from SAWS.

In 2002, competing vendors on a SAWS contract Briones oversaw complained that he'd wrongly favored the winning company. Briones and his boss, former SAWS distribution VP Gustavo González, were fired after internal auditors investigated and found the two violated company policy by accepting gifts from the vendors. Briones and González lost their appeals to an internal review committee.

Briones and González then sued SAWS in federal court, arguing SAWS had no set rules or limits on gifts from contractors — Briones says his “reputation was unfairly tarnished” by the incident. A federal judge dismissed the lawsuit at SAWS' request.

The Current asked Briones if he had tried to get San Antonio Man magazine to correct their piece (the profile's author failed to return calls for comment).

“I didn't even think of that being an option,” he said. “It's all already out there.”

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