d) OIG findings regarding treatment
of women generally
Although we did not find credible evidence of rape or naked men jumping out of trees, the treatment of women at the campground was degrading. The Roundup each year was overwhelmingly male; indeed from 1981 through at least 1983 women were prohibited from attending. In the mid-1980s women were once again permitted to attend. We were told that this change was precipitated by a female police officer appearing at the Roundup and upon being told she could not enter, replying that because she was a police officer and this event was for police officers,
they could not exclude her. She also told them they had accepted her application and cashed her check. [/ She apparently had registered using only an initial so it would not have been obvious on the form that she is a woman. ] Several leaders supposedly met and agreed she had to be admitted. [ / This version was told to us by several people, including Rightmyer. Each person recalled it occurring in 1987. The invitations, however, had stopped excluding women by 1985. ]
Even when women were officially welcome, relatively few attended. Out of 1,369 identified attendees, only 98 were women; 56 of the women identified were local women listed on the 1995 sign-in sheets. Only twenty of the women we identified attended more than one year; four of these twenty were also local women.
The women who attended prior to 1986 uniformly reported to us that they were treated appropriately and did not feel threatened or uncomfortable while at the campground. Women who attended in later years, however, reported demeaning language, inappropriate touching, and fear that some of the drunks would assault them.
A female DOJ agent told us she felt very uncomfortable as a woman at the Roundup because of "the vulgarity, mannerisms, demeanor and body language of the males in attendance." One male DOJ agent told us if he were a woman attending the Roundup, "there were some areas in the campground that he would not go."
After the 1995 Roundup, a Treasury agent wrote a letter to Rightmyer claiming that during the 1994 Roundup he heard a woman "screaming and fighting to get away from some Good O' Boys around 3 a.m." He heard a car door slam shut and the car speed away. He heard a male voice yell, "Damn you." The agent did not investigate the circumstances of this incident and so had no knowledge as to what actually happened or who was involved.
A local female deputy sheriff told us that at the 1995 Roundup a man came up to her and some other women and asked, "Who's the cunt?" Witnesses identified this man as a Canadian who is not in law enforcement. They also told us that his brother, a Canadian police officer, pulled him away and apologized to the women.
Another male DOJ agent reported seeing women being "pawed" by men and believed that women were not welcome at the Roundup because of the level of the rowdiness there. A DOJ supervisor who attended told us that some of the men felt that there was "open season" on women at the Roundup and noted that if he had brought a female, he "would keep a close eye on her." [ / We subsequently learned that he in fact had brought a female to the Roundup and she reported that the male behavior at the Roundup made her very uncomfortable. ] One female DOJ attendee who attended the most recent years reported, however, that no one said anything "rude" or "negative" to her; she was treated as the "mama" or a "big sister." [ / This was probably attributable to the fact that she was more mature than the extremely young local women, who were described as being barely eighteen or at most in their twenties. ]
Our investigation determined that the campground was almost certainly not a comfortable place for a lone woman late at night. Many of the male attendees we interviewed admitted that they would not have wanted women they know to walk through the campground at night because of the participants' general rowdiness. Many attendees were extremely drunk and probably took liberties in which they would not have indulged when sober. Such activity likely would have been hard to police unless women made specific complaints to a MOB member about a particular individual. We are unaware of any such complaints being raised during a Roundup.
Most of the people we interviewed, male and female, acknowledged that some aggressive behavior towards women occurred in the campground, but many claimed that such behavior was no different than what happened most nights in many bars. Given the amount of beer consumed at the Roundup and the fact that it was in a campground, we conclude that such comments likely understate the real
circumstances. We thus view it as likely that unwanted sexual touching and sexual statements were made toward women.
This type of behavior was certainly fueled by the amount of alcohol consumed. It was also apparently encouraged by some of the local women in attendance who reportedly "strutted" through the campground in bikinis and others who exposed their breasts to the male attendees. Although some women may have encouraged the type of "attention" given them, that was no excuse for the conduct of many of the male attendees. Women who did not engage in similar behavior were treated just as inappropriately. Indeed, female law enforcement officers received similar treatment and as a result did not feel welcome or comfortable and had no desire to return. The fact that many of the male attendees noted that they would not want women they know to attend because of the crude behavior of their fellow attendees also speaks volumes regarding the extent of the unacceptable behavior.
Although as we note later, there was at least a half-hearted policy to exclude strippers and suspected prostitutes, we found no policy or efforts to curb the male attendees' inappropriate treatment of women attendees or to create a hospitable environment for female officers.
While we found evidence that in the mid-1980s Rightmyer spoke to particular female law enforcement attendees and told them to come to him if they had any problems, we heard no such efforts by the leadership in later years when the Roundup became even less hospitable. Furthermore, although we found no evidence that any women approached Rightmyer or other Roundup leaders to complain, the extent of the conduct was so patently obvious to many of the men we interviewed, that Roundup leadership should have recognized the problem on its own and taken appropriate action.