Former soldier claims he could be Brangman’s first victim
A former Bermuda Regiment conscript claims he was sexually assaulted in the shower by Glenn Brangman at Warwick Camp more than 20 years ago and was left so distraught he attempted suicide.
Soldier C contacted The Royal Gazette in tears after reading that this newspaper had uncovered 14 claims of sexual assault and harassment made by male Regiment soldiers between 1989 and 2002, 13 of which were against Brangman.
The man, now in his mid-forties, said: “I do believe mine is the first case. I have been dying to talk about this for years. I built up a lot of courage to do this.
“If enough people say it happened and enough people give similar testimony, that's got to be enough for something to be done.”
Brangman was jailed for three years on Monday, after the Court of Appeal upheld his convictions for sexually assaulting a teenage clerk while he was the manager of Bermuda Housing Corporation.
It was his first conviction for a sex attack, but a long-running investigation by this newspaper discovered that the complaint was one of many made against the 61-year-old during his working life.
Soldier C, who asked not to be identified, described how he was in trouble at the time of the alleged assault on him, having been caught after going on the run from Warwick Camp.
He was locked up for several days before Brangman told him he could take a shower late one evening.
“I'm taking a shower and [the officer] came in butt naked too,” the man said. “It was a little shower stall.
“He was in the entrance. He said: 'I was wondering if you needed your back washed?'.”
Soldier C alleged that Brangman then seriously sexually assaulted him, leaving him feeling utterly helpless and violated.
“If you hit an officer, it's like you can go to jail,” he said. “How was I supposed to defend myself?”
The young man fled from Warwick Camp to his mother's home and she reported the alleged assault to the Regiment.
But Soldier C claimed that though police were called in, he was never interviewed by a police officer and was warned not to discuss the incident outside Warwick Camp, as he would be breaching army rules and could be jailed.
“We were told that there wasn't enough evidence,” he said. “It was my word against his. The police decided that it wasn't enough to investigate.”
Soldier C suffered depression and tried to kill himself after the incident and continues to have mental health problems.
A former high-ranking officer, who was serving at Warwick Camp when the attack allegedly took place, confirmed to this newspaper that a serious sexual assault claim was made by Soldier C against Brangman.
The officer told this newspaper his recollection was that the victim was unwilling to speak to police.
“I think with him, at the time, he was too ashamed. I think a lot of the reluctancy was on him.”
The former officer said he dealt with another allegation against Brangman more than a decade later.
Gavin Shorto, Regiment commanding officer at the time of Soldier C's claim, remembers that a complaint of sexual assault was made.
Lt Col Shorto said: “While I was late in my tenure as CO of the Regiment, there was a complaint made by a private soldier, a male ... a complaint of sexual assault.”
He said he asked police to investigate because it was too serious for the Regiment to deal with internally; police told him there was not enough evidence to charge the officer.
“If there is not enough evidence to warrant charging him, there is not enough evidence for me to take any action against him,” explained Lt Col Shorto.
The former CO said: “I'm pretty sure this is the same case. It has the same cast of characters. The police must have interviewed this young man.
“It just is completely unbelievable that they wouldn't have. If there had not been some kind of note in the police report that this young man had been interviewed, I would have been onto the police like a shot.”
He said a second allegation was made against the same officer in 1990. “Exactly the same thing happened again,” added Lt Col Shorto. “The police investigated, gave us a report and basically they said 'there just isn't enough evidence to sustain a charge'.”
This newspaper's investigation into alleged sexual misconduct at Bermuda Regiment prompted calls in 2009 for a Royal Commission into the issue, including from Public Safety Minister Michael Dunkley, who was then an Opposition MP.
But former Governor Sir Richard Gozney said he saw “no convincing argument” for such an inquiry.
Bermuda Police Service declined to comment on their investigation into Soldier C's sexual assault complaint.