An Illinois congressman in the Air National Guard is pressing Facebook's CEO Mark Zuckerberg to do more to stop "romance scams," especially since many U.S. service members have become targets of the illicit activity.
In a letter sent to Zuckerberg Wednesday, Rep. Adam Kinzinger, a Republican, said he is "increasingly concerned" by these scams — where Internet users anywhere in the world claim to be veterans and exploit victims for money — that are consistently perpetuated on the social media platform. He asked Zuckerberg to better weed out fake accounts and improve security of the site to that end.
When Traci Moran, an observant Jewish woman living at Joint Base Lewis-McChord with her enlisted husband, came to Army Chaplain Capt. Michael Harari in August 2018, she was looking for spiritual guidance, she said.
A Tacoma rabbi, Zalman Heber, had been sending her sexually explicit text and voice messages for almost a month despite Moran asking more than once that he stop, the messages showed.
Harari was her husband's unit chaplain — meaning he was responsible for the spiritual well-being of the unit's families — and the only rabbi on base. And he and Heber were part of the same Hasidic organization, Chabad, that runs synagogues and cultural centers around the world.
All of that meant, Moran said, that Harari was "in an incredibly unique position to take my report and tailor counseling to my specific religious views."
Instead, an Army investigation obtained by The Seattle Times found that Harari violated her confidence by sharing her allegations with Heber. Then, Heber and Harari worked in parallel to "harass and attempt to intimidate and ostracize the Morans from the civilian communities surrounding JBLM [Joint Base Lewis-McChord]," according to the investigation, which examined whether Harari violated the Army's Equal Opportunity policy.
"There appears to be an increase in high-risk behaviors among service members; that is, having sex without a condom or having more than one sexual partner," Air Force physician Maj. Dianne Frankel said in a news release.
EULESS, Texas — Six months ago, Larry Fromme rarely left his apartment, and he worried that he might get evicted as he struggled to pay his rent and buy groceries.
Fromme, 80, is a disabled veteran who served in the U.S. Army as a private first class in Germany at the height of the Cold War. He was diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder, and said he often had nightmares about serving in a stressful environment.
Fromme recalled what it was like to be isolated and the difficulties of finding people who understood his struggles.
"I was down in the dumps," he said. "I was looking for people to talk to."
Fromme described how it was difficult for him to leave his apartment as no one thanked him for his service, although he wore his cap displaying the words, "disabled veteran" when he went shopping.
But now life is getting better for Fromme as he regularly meets with veterans who understand the stress of serving in the military and what it is like to be ignored.
An average of 20 people per minute are victims of abuse in the United States. (U.S. Air Force/Airman 1st Class Christopher Quail0
An analysis of more than 200 cases of domestic violence at eight military installations has determined that commanders and law enforcement personnel are not following their own rules when investigating and handling these cases and their victims.