Former soldier claims rape and retaliation at JBLM

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD — The U.S. Court of Appeals in Seattle is hearing the case of a former JBLM soldier who says she was harassed, raped and nearly killed by her fellow soldiers.

Emel Bosh emigrated from Turkey and followed her husband by enlisting in the U.S. Army. “I thought I would be a great fit for defending my new nation.” Specialist Bosh said she quickly faced anti-Muslim backlash, even though she is Christian. “If I was Muslim, I would declare that with my honor and pride, because being Muslim is not a bad thing. But I’m not going to declare something that I don’t believe,” said Bosh.

Bosh said she faced intense backlash. When her U.S. citizenship was put on hold, she filed a federal whistleblower complaint. Bosh maintains she was told by JBLM Lieutenant General Gary Volesky to “just keep it within the family.”

In her federal lawsuit, Bosh maintains Army investigators retaliated against her by forcing her to get the anthrax vaccine, even though she was not deploying. After suffering a severe reaction to the first vaccine, she requested a waiver. Bosh maintains she was forced to receive a second and third vaccine and was threatened by supervisors. “We are going to dishonorably discharge you. You are talking way too much. You are a soldier wearing a uniform. You have to obey any orders given to you, even though that order can cause death,” according to Bosh.

After agreeing to a third anthrax vaccine, Bosh said she was hospitalized, suffered 300 seizures and nearly died. “I was unconscious,” said Bosh. While she was recovering, Bosh maintains the Army sent a “predator chaplain” to visit her in the hospital. In a complaint with U.S. Army investigators, Bosh maintains Major Mijikai Mason offered to provide EMDR psychotherapy and binaural stimulation. “That’s when he started to touch. He’s touching different parts of my body, but I can’t even respond. I can’t even say anything back because one after the other, the seizures were happening,” Bosh told KIRO 7. Specialist Bosh said she was subjected to repeated sexual assaults by Major Mason.

Bosh turned over text messages that included nude videos sent to her by Major Mason. Despite Bosh wanting him charged with sexual assault, the military charged the Army chaplain with “conduct unbecoming,” alleging that he was in a “sexual relationship” with Bosh while “purporting to provide spiritual counseling and therapy.”

In December of 2019, Bosh’s federal lawsuit concerning harassment and the anthrax vaccine was dismissed by judges citing the Feres Doctrine. The Feres Doctrine prohibits service members from suing the military for a so-called “incident to service” like being hurt or killed in combat. Congress amended the Feres Doctrine in 2020 to allow medical malpractice claims to move forward.

Last month, the U.S. Court of Appeals in Seattle began considering Bosh’s lawsuit that refers to Major Mijikai Mason as a “predator chaplain.” “Should instances where it’s straight up an illegal crime to commit in the civilian world, why would we permit that in the military area as well? Should rape be considered incident to service? Of course it shouldn’t. No normal person would willingly take a job and say, but I’m okay with getting raped now and then,” said Bosh attorney Richard Simpson.

On November 18th, U.S. Army Secretary said, “we must do better” when it comes to sexual assault and harassment among soldiers. On that same day, Major Mijikai Mason faced an Army court and was convicted of one count of fraternization and was punished with a $10,000 fine. “My body’s price tag is $10,000 for the government, just $10,000,” said Bosh. In a statement, the U.S. Army Garrison Hawaii said the sexual assault allegations “were unsupported by the evidence gathered during the investigation.”

Outside his Army base in Hawaii, Major Mason continues delivering sermons on his Facebook page while publicly following the provocative pages of hundreds of young women. The KIRO 7 investigative team reached out to Major Mason for comment via phone, Facebook and email, but so far has not received a response.

Emel Bosh is medically discharged from the U.S. Army and now works for a federal agency. She said it has been a nightmare as an immigrant who had higher hopes for America. “I still have higher hopes. I still am holding the hopes no matter what. I still am holding the hopes for others too, for all of my veteran friends, for my country,” said Bosh.

U.S. Army Garrison Hawaii Statement:

The U.S. Army takes all allegations of sexual assault seriously, and all non-restricted allegations are investigated by law enforcement, as was done in this case. Maj. Mason was not charged with sexual assault, as such charges were unsupported by the evidence gathered during the investigation. On Nov. 18, 2020, Maj. Mason was convicted, pursuant to his pleas, on one specification of fraternization, in violation of Article 134, UCMJ (Charge II on the Charge Sheet). The military judge sentenced him to confinement for 30 days, and forfeiture of $2,000/month for five months. As part of his plea agreement, any confinement will not be approved. We cannot comment on any additional administrative personnel actions concerning Maj. Mason, as they are protected by the Privacy Act.