Army Gave Staff Sgt. Randall Hughes A Slap On The Wrist For Rape — Then He Went After His 14-Year-Old Daughter

Photo: US Army / lusia83 / Shutterstock
Former US Army Staff Sgt Randall Hughes
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Randall Hughes, a former US Army staff sergeant, has been convicted on multiple counts violent crimes — including rape, sexual assault, sexual abuse of a child, and assault consummated by a battery on a child, among others — years after first being reported to the US Army Crimiinal Investigations Command (CID).

By the time the CID decided to prosecute him for what they had already acknowledged were credible allegations, he had been exposed as a serial rapist, having violently assaulted at least five victims over the past 15 years, including the wife of a soldier under his charge, his ex-wife, an ex-girlfriend, and his own teenage daughter, who was just 14 at the time.

The earliest accusations stem from an incident that took place in 2006, although no reports were made until 2017.

But It wasn't until his daughter came forward in 2020 that the Army finally took action to stop him.

In 2017, Hughes attended a Super Bowl party hosted by the aforementioned soldier and his wife, Leah Ramirez.

Hughes had actively encouraged the soldier to drink whiskey shots throughout the night, to the extent that the young man was passed out drunk by the time everyone else had left for the evening. After Ramirez put her husband to bed, she says Hughes stayed behind and propositioned her for sex.

When she refused, he proceeded anyway without her consent, pushing her against a grill, then grabbing her by her hair, dragging her into the house and raping her.

Ramirez reported the crime to the CID, but even after the investigation found what they told her was sufficient evidence against Hughes, he only received a General Officer Memorandum of Reprimand (GOMOR) letter on his record — the military equivalent of a "chewing out" or a slap on the wrist.

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Ramirez was shocked by the decision.

“I was told CID had enough evidence to believe it happened, and Fort Bliss still didn’t do anything,” she told The Army Times. “They just told me the command said this is what it was — this is how it is.”

A few months later, Hughes allegedly raped his then-girlfriend, who said he told her "to not speak to agents who were investigating Ramirez’s case," and that he had intentionally cut her using a broken glass bottle during the assault.

Shortly after being transferred to Fort Dix, New Jersey, Hughes was accused again, this time by his teenage daughter.

Wanting a fresh start, his daughter, in whose life he had not previously been involved, moved in with him in 2017. Her mother says had no idea that he was being investigated for, or had even been accused of, sexual assault.

Officials knew of the allegations but still allowed his daughter to move on base. On March 25, 2020, Hughes gave his 14-year-old daughter sleeping medication and raped her.

Like Ramirez and several of his other victims, Lesley Madsen, now 17, requested that her name be used in the media.

In her victim-impact statement which her mother shared on Facebook, Madsen said, “It is hard for me to be here today because I’m the one putting my dad in prison, which is not the way I imagined this to end... But I am not standing here to cry that Randall broke me or ruined my life. I'm standing here to ensure that he sees that he's done quite the opposite.”

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The crimes Hughes has been convicted of are horrific, and at least two of the known assaults he is accused of could have been prevented.

Retired Col. Don Christensen, current president of Protect Our Defenders — self-described as "the pre-eminent national human rights organization dedicated to ending sexual violence, victim retaliation, misogyny, sexual prejudice, and racism in the military and combating a culture that has allowed it to persist" — states, “Right now, I’d say the military is uniquely bad at evaluating the strength of an allegation. In the vast majority of cases, leadership decides to do nothing.”

According to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), in 2018 alone, 6,053 military members reported experiencing sexual assault during military service.

Due to the massive number of military assaults that go unreported, the Department of Defense estimates that the real number is more like 20,500.

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Hughes pleaded guilty in exchange for a deal allowing him ;a minimal sentence of 13 years and dishonorable discharged.

In all, he was charged with two counts of rape, two counts of sexual assault consummated by battery, one count of sexual abuse of a child, one count of assault consummated by a battery on a child, one count of indecent language, and one count of adultery.

Though Hughes is serving less time than the span of his crimes lasted, the survivors who refused to give up their pursuit of justice can feel some relief knowing he will be behind bars, even if for only a relatively short amount of time.

As Madsen said, “It’s called a victim’s statement, but I consider it to be far from that. This is my empowering speech, the grand finale, and my goodbye. I want Randall to remember my words and process them, that is, if he is capable of doing so.”

If you or someone you know is a victim of sexual harassment, assault and/or abuse, you are not alone. Visit RAINN.org for resources or call 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).

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Leeann Reed is a writer who covers news, pop culture, and love, and relationship topics.