Good O' Boy Roundup Report - March, 1996

c) OIG findings regarding rapes and
unwanted sexual conduct

We did not find credible evidence of rapes at the Roundup. The alleged victim of the gang rape categorically denied having been raped or urinated upon at a Roundup. She was extremely cooperative and we found her very credible. She offered to be polygraphed, and the polygraph detected no deception in her denials that she had ever been raped or urinated on at a Roundup. [ / It would not be our normal practice to polygraph a victim who denies a crime has been committed. We did so here for three reasons. First, she volunteered to undergo the examination. Second, we had the polygrapher in the area for another witness who claimed to have seen the rape. Third, we wanted to be able to rule out the possibility that the victim was denying it, not because it had not happened, but because she did not want to publicly acknowledge the incident. ]

Although the victim's denials were persuasive that no gang rape had occurred, we also considered the credibility of these other witnesses because of their numerous other allegations. Affiant A admitted she did not see any rape and has never been in the campground during a Roundup. She repeated this rumor as fact even though she had no basis for it. As we discussed previously regarding her drug allegation, she expressed extreme dislike for the Roundup and the owner of Ocoee Outdoors and thus appears motivated to exaggerate or fabricate evidence.

Affiant B is related to Affiant A. Her affidavit claimed that she was in the campground when this alleged gang rape took place. She initially refused to meet us, claiming that Stockburger had promised her she would never have to speak to anyone about the alleged incident or her affidavit. She said she had not wanted to submit the affidavit but Affiant A pressured her to do so. She did answer a few questions on the telephone. In that conversation, she said she never actually saw a rape or anyone urinating on another person; she said she did not hear any activity at the campground consistent with a rape; and she did not see the alleged victim at the campground that night. She claimed she learned it had happened because some men were standing around the beer truck saying, "That was a great gang bang." In a subsequent interview, she recanted this last statement and claimed instead that she had heard about the rape from raft guides the next day. The alleged victim never told her it had happened. Finally, Affiant B's decision to attend subsequent Roundups seemed inconsistent with her testimony that a woman had been gang-raped and abused while she had been at the campground.

As neither Affiant A nor Affiant B saw the rape, we tried to determine how they might have heard this story. We learned that the purported eyewitness for a time dated

another relative of Affiant A. We conclude that it is likely he told this person his story and that the two Affiants learned about it from her. [ / He admitted he may have told the woman he was dating or the affiants about the rape. As the details of each of their accounts were so similar, they most likely originated from the same source. ]

We also found the scenario presented by the purported eyewitness to be implausible. We took him to the campground to have him point out where he claimed to have been while observing this alleged rape. He indicated that he was in a spot over 100 feet away from the victim's alleged location. He maintained that the alleged rape occurred at approximately 2 a.m. Because the campground did not have lighting in the area where this allegedly occurred, it would have been very dark at that time. Given such conditions, it would have been extremely difficult, if not utterly impossible, for someone to have seen what this witness claimed to have observed.

As we discussed previously, we sought to polygraph this individual. During his interview with the polygraph examiner, he became nervous about failing the polygraph and the possible consequences if he failed it. He then claimed to have consumed up to half a gallon of screwdrivers and smoked three or four joints of marijuana that evening before observing the alleged rape. Eventually, he recanted his claim, saying he had not actually seen anyone have sex with a woman that night. Thus, we have a victim who said no rape occurred, an alleged eyewitness who recanted his claim that a rape occurred, and two affiants who never saw a rape but who swore that it happened. [ / We found one other witness who claimed that the alleged victim told her she had been pulled into the woods and raped during a Roundup. The alleged victim denied saying this to anyone and denied that she was raped. As we said above, we found the alleged victim to be very credible. This additional witness was not credible. She was very unhappy with the Roundup attendees, possibly with good reason. She lived in the campground for several years and the Roundup was quite rowdy and probably very disruptive to her campsite. This anger was very apparent in her interview. She also tended to repeat rumors that had no basis in fact. Finally, she was good friends with the male witness who originally claimed to have seen a rape. She may have just heard a different rumor from him. While we did not dismiss everything she had to say to us, we did not find her credible in making this particular allegation. ]

Accordingly, we do not find credible evidence to support the allegation that a gang rape as described in the Senate affidavits actually occurred.

We also find insufficient credible evidence of the second claim of rape. We interviewed the individual from whom Curtis Cooper claimed to have heard this account. This person acknowledged that he had spoken to Cooper about the Roundup, but he denied ever having seen or telling Cooper about such activity by anyone at the Roundup. The alleged perpetrator was also interviewed and denied ever having sex at a Roundup, let alone forcing a woman to have sex with him. We found no one else who had ever seen this alleged event or even heard of it. It is certainly possible that the person about whom Cooper allegedly got this information did not tell us the truth when he denied committing a rape. But Cooper's story has other problems as well. First, we could find neither a possible victim nor any other leads that corroborated Cooper's account. Cooper contended that this crime allegedly occurred out in the open, but he could not identify -- and we could not find -- any other witnesses to corroborate this story. Second, the alleged eyewitness was a Treasury agent. If he had seen a crime as serious as a rape, we would have expected him to have intervened or reported it. No such action was taken. Third, the claim requires an assumption that some men would decide to openly rape a woman in front of hundreds of police officers with no fear of detection or interference from any possible witnesses.

Cooper's claim also suffers from other inconsistencies. Cooper stated that he heard this account while he was the Assistant Special Agent-in-Charge of the ATF office in Nashville. Despite allegedly knowing that a serious crime had been committed by an ATF agent at an event organized by another ATF agent whom he supervised, Cooper took no action whatsoever. He did not repeat the allegations to anyone else, report them to a supervisor, or conduct an investigation. His contemporaneous behavior thus suggests that either he did not hear such a claim or found it unbelievable. He told us that he did nothing because he felt ATF management would disregard his statement because he is an African American and because they would protect the allegedly racist Roundups. If the allegation concerned racist activity that ATF management would overlook, Cooper's explanation for not acting might have had some force. It does not, however, where a criminal act bearing no relation to racism was alleged. Furthermore, he did not urge the purported eyewitness, a white male, to report this alleged crime to anyone. Finally, despite having allegedly acquired this knowledge in 1987 and having been interviewed regarding the Roundup after that time, the first time Cooper went on record with these allegations was after the Senate hearing (at which he also testified), when Affiants A and B had made similar claims. For these reasons, we do not find credible evidence to support Cooper's contention that an ATF agent raped a woman at a Roundup.

We also found no credible evidence supporting the claim that naked men jumped out of trees onto women passing by underneath. In virtually every interview conducted in this investigation, we asked witnesses about this allegation. No one who entered the campground, including scores of women, ever saw any activities remotely supporting this claim. Those who repeated the story had never even been in the campground, nor claimed to have seen such activity. Furthermore, although this claim may seem plausible in light of the large amount of alcohol consumed at the Roundup, it does not square with a close physical inspection of the campground. The trees in the campground are tall pines, with branches high off the ground and rough bark on the trunks. It strains credulity that persons -- even drunk ones -- would be able to climb such trees without any clothes on in order to jump onto women passing by underneath.

While it is possible that serious sexual offenses occurred at the Roundup, we were not able to find credible evidence to corroborate the accounts of those incidents that were reported to us.