This week’s conviction of former U.S. Marine Cesar Laurean in in the 2007 brutal murder of Lance Cpl. Maria Lauterbachand her unborn child almost three years after the crime was committed is long past overdue. In August, 2008, Ret. Col Ann Wright wrote about the case as but one example among many of misogynist violence in the military,
Marine Lance Cpl. Maria Lauterbach had been raped in May 2007 and protective orders had been issued against the alleged perpetrator, fellow Marine Cpl. Cesar Laurean. The burned body of Lauterbach and her unborn baby were found in a shallow grave in the backyard of Laurean’s home in January 2008. Laurean fled to Mexico, where he was captured by Mexican authorities. He is currently awaiting extradition to the United States to stand trial. Lauterbach’s mother testified before Congress on July 31, 2008, that the Marine Corps ignored warning signs that Laurean was a danger to her daughter (testimony of Mary Lauterbach to the National Security and Foreign Affairs Subcommittee of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, nationalsecurity.oversight.house.gov/documents/20080731134039.pdf).
I asked Wright via email for her take on the mind-boggling amount of time it has taken for justice to be served in the Lauterbach murder,
“I think it is very important for women of the military to know why it has taken this long to have a court-martial on such a high visibility case, which included extradition of Laurean from Mexico where he had fled after he murdered Maria Lauterbach and her baby, burned and buried their bodies. For women in the military who are a part of the 92% of women who file rape charges and never have their cases even brought to a court of justice so that their pleas can be heard (only 8% of military rape cases ever come to trial in constrast to 30% of allegations in the civilian sector), it is no glimmer of hope that the verdict in this high profile case has taken so long.”
Indeed, this is just another in a much to long list of ways in which the military continues to send the message that women who serve in the military are at more risk of being harmed by their fellow soldiers than by any enemy and that contrary to the expectation that every soldier has, that their comrades have their back, for women, it is decidedly not so.