Chair of Disabled Vets PAC Tells Nathan Fletcher, Don’t Use ‘PTSD’ as an Excuse for Your Sexual Assault Allegations

(John Gibbins/The San Diego Union-Tribune via AP)

On Monday, Jason Gilbert, the National Chairman for the Disabled Veterans PAC implored San Diego Board of Supervisors Nathan Fletcher to do two things:

  1. Release a Statement immediately, separating “PTSD” from his sexual assault allegations.
  2. RESIGN immediately.


Gilbert honored Fletcher as a fellow Marine and brother-in-arms, but he did not mince words on how Fletcher’s statement conflating his issues with PTSD in the same breath as the sexual assault charges against him was bad timing, and done in poor taste.

As National Chairman of the Non-Partisan Disabled Veterans PAC and a Marine Veteran, when I heard that County Supervisor Fletcher had dropped the term “PTSD” in conjunction with his sexual assault allegation, my jaw dropped and my eyeballs popped. Because I was concerned that the public would now wrongly correlate the two, perceive our many veterans suffering from PTSD as potential sexual predator time bombs, and restrict contact between these veterans and their female friends, family and loved ones.

As someone who works in Washington, D.C. to help craft legislation for disabled veterans, I can assure you there is no epidemic of sexual assault from PTSD veterans. But there is an epidemic of suicide, and I am very concerned about at-risk veterans with PTSD watching this story on the news and becoming distressed or angry that PTSD is now becoming associated with sexual assault.

It is a real danger. According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs,

Studies show that suicide risk is higher in persons with PTSD. Some studies link suicide risk in those with PTSD to distressing trauma memories, anger, and poor control of impulses. Further, suicide risk is higher for those with PTSD who have certain styles of coping with stress, such as not expressing feelings.

Research suggests that for Veterans with PTSD, the strongest link to both suicide attempts and thinking about suicide is guilt related to combat. Many Veterans have very disturbing thoughts and extreme guilt about actions taken during times of war. These thoughts can often overwhelm the Veteran and make it hard for him or her to deal with the intense feelings.

It was short-sighted and selfish of Fletcher to use his supposed suffering to conflate all PTSD sufferers with sexual abusers, especially since Fletcher’s past reflects a pattern of sexual affairs and sexually inappropriate behavior. It was also uncovered on Monday that Schumacher PC, the law firm which represents Fletcher accuser and former San Diego Metropolitan Transit System staffer Grecia Figueroa, informed Fletcher and San Diego MTS about the lawsuit six weeks before Fletcher made his announcement about PTSD and rehab.

So, one can only surmise that Fletcher’s use of PTSD was not just sloppy, but calculated for sympathy and effect.

Gilbert makes the case that because of this, Fletcher needs to resign. Not on May 15, 2023, which is the date that has been reported by the San Diego Board of Supervisors, but immediately.

So, Supervisor Fletcher, my fellow Marine. I say, brother: release a statement immediately clarifying that PTSD is never to blame for sexual assault, and scrap your plan to wait a month or longer to resign. Resign immediately, otherwise, you’re giving the impression that you’re hiding behind PTSD for political reasons or trying to drag this out. Which will just turn this into Bob Filner 2.0, who my wife at the time was sexually violated by. So, I do not want to see a replay of that.

An interesting political fact: The brother of Lorena Gonzalez-Fletcher led the charge to get Republican Mayor Bob Filner removed.

Where’s his fire, now that his Democrat brother-in-law is on the chopping block?

 #MondayMemories: 10 Years ago, we had a very eerily similar situation with former Mayor of San Diego, Bob Filner…  Interestingly enough, it was none other than Lorena Gonzalez Brother, Marco Gonzalez, an Environmental Attorney from the Coast Law Group,…1/2

…that was at the forefront of the calls for immediate RESIGNATION of Mayor Bob Filner. Where’s that same energy today for Supervisor Nathan Fletcher? Where’re the Press Conference calling for his IMMEDIATE RESIGNATION? 2/2


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