Photo Courtesy of the Moore Family

VA to pay sex assault victim $400K in back benefits

Photo Courtesy of the Moore Family
Ruth Moore, shown with her husband, Butch, and their daughter, Samantha, has been awarded $405,000 in claims the Veterans Administration denied her since 1993. Moore suffered post-traumatic stress disorder after being raped by a superior officer in the Navy just a few months into her service.

MILBRIDGE — The Veterans Administration has agreed to pay a local survivor of military sexual assault $405,000 in benefits denied to her.

“[Rep.] Chellie Pingree’s office called and the VA admitted they made a clear and unmistakable error,” said Ruth Moore, who has lent her name to Pingree’s proposed federal legislation.

The Ruth Moore Act would lower the burden of proof for military victims of sexual trauma seeking disability benefits.

“That was a shock that they admitted they made a mistake,” Moore said. “Then they told me they were going to pay me retroactive to when that happened in 1993.”

“It was wrong for the VA to deny Ruth’s claims over 20 years ago, and although nothing can undo the pain and trauma that she has suffered, at last Ruth will be getting the benefits she earned and deserved,” Pingree said in a press release.

Moore enlisted in the Navy at age 18.

While stationed in the Azores, a superior officer raped Moore twice, giving her a sexually transmitted disease.

When Moore reported the assaults, the Navy dismissed her claims. The officer was never charged or disciplined. Moore eventually was transferred to a mental health facility with a diagnosis of borderline personality disorder.

Moore suffered post-traumatic stress disorder and gynecological problems stemming from the assaults.

Moore applied for benefits after being discharged, but the Florida VA denied her claims.

Moore’s records had been partially expunged, so there was no proof of her treatment for an STD from the Azores.

Eventually, the Disabled American Veterans organization would help Moore obtain a 30 percent disability rating for depression, but her claim for PTSD was denied.

Meanwhile, Moore suffered miscarriages, failed marriage, night terrors and an inability to trust male supervisors.

Finally, in 2009, she met a military sexual trauma coordinator at a VA hospital in White River Junction, Vt.

The coordinator reviewed Moore’s records and determined they had been expunged because there were inconsistencies between Moore’s lab work, treatment notes and service record.

Pingree helped get the VA to reopen Moore’s case.

Moore and her family plan to use the settlement money to start a nonprofit organization called Internity to help sexual assault survivors empower themselves.

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Jennifer Osborn

Jennifer Osborn

Reporter and columnist at The Ellsworth American
News Reporter Jennifer Osborn covers news and features on the Blue Hill Peninsula and Deer Isle-Stonington. She welcomes tips and story ideas. She also writes the Gone Shopping column. Email Jennifer with your suggestions at [email protected] or call 667-2576.
Jennifer Osborn

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