The wife of a retired, decorated Army Colonel is coming to his defense after a former West Point classmate accused him of raping her 30 years ago.
Susan Shannon claims she was raped in 1986 by then-fellow cadet Wil Riggins at West Point Military Academy in New York. She said she never told anyone until she wrote about it recently on her blog.
But Riggins' wife, Nancy, is standing by him. She told INSIDE EDITION: “We've discussed this every day. We wake up talking about it and we go to bed talking about it. He is not capable. He would never do that.”
Shannon wrote in her blog: “I need to tell the story about a rape of a soldier. That soldier is me. The man who raped me, Wil Riggins, is now a Colonel in the Army.”
She said when she was a cadet she got drunk at a party and Riggins offered her a lift in his car. She said when she passed out in the car, she was raped.
In keeping with the Cadet Corps' alleged Code of Silence, Shannon said she never reported the alleged attack.
Shannon told INSIDE EDITION: “I remember him getting on top of me and unzipping my coat and him saying ‘This won't take long.’ I was saying like ‘What are you doing?’”
She says she confronted him about the alleged rape.
“I demanded of him, ‘Did you have sex with my unconscious body?’ And he smiled at me with a big smug face and he shook his head, you know he was not sorry, not at all,” she said.
“I thought no-one would believe me,” she continued.
Shannon said she dropped out of West Point soon after but Riggins went on to have an illustrious career in the Army and rose to the rank of Colonel.
He was under consideration to become a Brigadier General when Shannon publicly accused him of rape.
“I did not rape Susan Shannon at West Point at any time,” he told INSIDE EDITION.
“I did not pick Susan Shannon up that night. During our entire junior, first and second year semester, I had no social interaction with Susan Shannon at all,” he continued.
The Army launched an investigation in 2013 and found insufficient evidence to pursue rape charges against Riggins. The investigation effectively destroyed his military career and he retired from the Army.
Riggins has filed a $2 million defamation lawsuit against Shannon.
He claimed to remember only speaking with her once, saying: “The only significant disagreement that I ever remember between the two of us was a time when and she yelled very loudly and was complaining that it was so hard to make the grades that were going to get her into medical school. And I made a comment: ‘Well maybe you don't belong at West Point.’”
But Shannon is not backing down from her claim, telling INSIDE EDITION: “I spoke the truth from my heart. I spoke the truth of what I know. I know exactly what happened in that car and so does he. I have the right to my free speech. And every woman who has been raped has a right to her free speech to tell her story.”