The largest community in Antarctica, McMurdo Station, is a United States Antarctic research station on the shore of McMurdo Sound, in Antarctica.
‘Mac-Town’, houses up to 1,200 residents, and is a hub for American activities on the ‘snow desert’ – and, as we now know, a place plagued by drunkenness, violence, sexual assault and rape.
A series of reports by Associated Press showed a pattern of abuse and cover up in the station, and followed the reaction of the authorities, the stopping of the selling of alcohol in bars and cafeterias, and recently, the news that investigators are being sent to probe the situation.
The new developments show that a man accused of physically assaulting a woman at the station was subsequently sent to a remote ice field to protecting the safety of a professor and three young graduate students.
Not only that, but he ‘remained there for a full week after a warrant for his arrest was issued.’
Stephen Tyler Bieneman has pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor assault over the incident that his lawyer called simple “horseplay.”
The case is due to go to trial today in Honolulu.
National Science Foundation is fielding even more questions about its decision-making in the U.S. Antarctic Program, which is already under considerable scrutiny.
On Nov. 24 or early Nov. 25 last year, a woman (Victim A) was sitting in a dormitory lounge when ‘Tyler’ Bieneman, who had a few too many drinks, walked in.
The woman found it ‘funny’ to take his name tag from his jacket, as a prank. Bad mistake. She refused to give it back, running around the end of a sofa, prosecutors say.
Associated Press reported:
“Bieneman then took her to the floor, put her on her back and put his left shin over her throat as he rummaged through her pocket looking for the tag, prosecutors say. The woman desperately tried to communicate she couldn’t breathe, signaling a choking motion and tapping on his leg as a minute passed before Bieneman finally found the tag and removed his shin from her airway, according to the indictment.”
Victim A had some muscle tightness, but ‘began suffering from lack of sleep and appetite, anxiousness, and depression’ as a result of the assault, and soon after she left her employment at McMurdo Station.
Bieneman’s lawyer said in an August email to the AP that eyewitnesses do not corroborate the woman’s account.
But the crazy twist of the story comes right after:
“On Dec. 10, two weeks after the incident, Bieneman and the scientific team flew by Twin Otter plane to set up camp at the remote Allan Hills icefield, more than 100 miles (160 kilometers) from McMurdo. The team, which studies ice cores, was there to collect radar data to help select a site for future ice-core drilling.”
Yes, you read it right. He was responsible for the safety of the group in the unforgiving environment.
‘It became clear that something was amiss with Tyler [Bineman]’, University of Washington Professor Howard Conway wrote in a complaint to the NSF.
He told the students that he had a fight with a woman, portrayed himself as the victim in the incident for being under scrutiny.
“’It was uncomfortable and stressful to be around him because it was not possible to feel physically or emotionally safe’, Conway wrote.
‘We were astounded to find (1) Tyler was assigned to our team when it was already known that he was under investigation, and (2) that he remained in the field with us for a full week after he had been charged with assault,” Conway wrote in the complaint’.”
Perverts on Ice: OIG Inspectors Sent to McMurdo Station in Antarctica, to Tackle Its Culture of Rape and Sexual Assault
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