Army Gets No Blame For Gay Murder

A year ago Army Private Barry Winchell was taunted for being gay, and then murdered.

CBS News has learned an investigation by the Army's inspector general has cleared all the officers at Fort Campbell, Ky., from the commanding general on down of any blame.

That will come as a shock to members of Congress who wrote Defense Secretary Cohen demanding action against those responsible for condoning an anti-gay climate at the base, and it will confirm the fear Winchell's mother, Pat Kutteles, voiced months ago.

"There has been nobody that has been held accountable for the Army's part in the harassment and the lack of safety," she said

Two soldiers were convicted of Winchell's murder, but the grisly case prompted even President Clinton to say that the policy of "don't ask don't tell" -- in which gays in the military are not supposed to be harassed -- is not working.

Another gay soldier at Fort Campbell told 60 Minutes his entire platoon chanted an anti-gay slogan on their daily run.

"It was pretty much, from what I can remember, 'Faggot, faggot down the street, shoot him, shoot him till he retreats,'" says Javier Torres.

But sources say the army's investigation confirmed
the claim of the general who commanded Fort Campbell at the time
.

Major General Robert Clark said: "There is not, nor has there ever been during my time here, a climate of homophobia on post. The climate here is one that promotes just the opposite, respect for all."

The investigation blamed Winchell's first sergeant, who has since been relieved of his duties, for allowing the harassment to go unchecked.

It also blamed a lack of training on what the "don't ask don't tell" policy means.

That, however, was not a problem just at Fort Campbell, but throughout the Army.

  • CBSNews.com staff CBSNews.com staff

Comments