Wall of Shame: Captain Pete Decola, United States Coast Guard

Update 23FEB13

We want to thank everyone that took their time to contact us about this case.

We were contacted by many on Active Duty Coast Guardsmen or women that witnessed Captain Decola verbally and emotionally abuse rape survivors. Even though what Decola did was clearly barbaric the amount of support and love from Active Duty Coast Guardsmen and women that contacted us was monumental. We thank everyone that took the time to contact us or post a comment on this blog. We know how difficult that it is to come forward while still on Active Duty and we admire your bravery.

Together we can help eliminate abuse by Pete Decola-and others like him who are abusing our shipmates who already suffered through the unthinkable. Join me to SupportTheCG.com so my shipmates won’t have to suffer the way that I did under Pete Decola’s command.

Thank you. Semper Paratus

-PB

While most people serving in the U.S Armed Forces are doing so honorably without assaulting anyone–or covering up and/or blaming a survivor that comes forward there are the handful of individuals that hurt our service members and often do so to multiple victims. Our Wall of Shame highlights those that spent most of their careers abusing our US Service members and veterans.

Today we are adding Captain Pete Decola to the Wall of Shame.

Pete Decola is a United States Coast Guard Captain. He is currently serving at Coast Guard Boston.

-In 2006 a woman was beaten, raped and severely retaliated against. As retaliation for reporting the rape she was sexually assaulted by friends of the rapist. According to a Coast Guardsman that witnessed -and put an end to the sexual assault before it escalated- he tried to get the woman helped, including speaking to Mr. Pete Decola but Decola REFUSED to help the woman. The witness to the sexual assault posted his story here.

-In 2007, Pete DeCola was instrumental in kicking out a rape survivor from the Coast Guard for reasons of she reported a rape. According to emails and documentations obtained by My Duty To Speak, Pete Decola refused to help a shipmate that was raped.

-A civilian anti-rape advocate/peer rape counselor was verbally assaulted by Pete Decola. She wrote about her ordeal for CNN. Read it here.

-Many Active Duty Coast Guardsmen came forward to say that they have witnessed Peter Decola verbally abuse women in the Coast Guard that reported rape. Many witnesses report that Pete DeCola has used words such as “crazy”, “liar” and “nut job” to describe our US Coast Guardsmen and disabled veterans that been raped or sexually assaulted.

The most notorious of all was last summer when Captain Pete Decola announced to a room full of Coast Guardsmen and women that women that report rape are “crazy” and “liars” he then went on to talk about CONFIDENTIAL information about rape cases that he was aware of. In the audience was two known rape survivors. Both rape survivors contacted us upset, triggered and disgusted by Captain Pete DeCola’s behavior.

As a result of Pete Decola’s rant against rape survivors one of the survivor left the Coast Guard as soon as her contract was up.

How many other rape survivors were in the room? Even though one might never know how many rape survivors have been hurt by Pete Decola the statistics of rape in the military are well know.

The United States Congress estimates that as many as 1 in 3 women and 1 in 10 men would experience sexual violence while serving in the United States Coast Guard. Divide that by the number of people that heard his “women that report rape are crazy” rants and you would get an estimate of how many suffered because of Captain Decola’s pro-rape attitude.

The US Congress also estimates that less than 10% of all rapes are ever reported due to harsh retaliation against the victim (such as losing their careers, being called “crazy” and “liars”, etc…) The United States Congress also estimates that less than 90% of all reported rapes end up in trial–with most accused rapist leave the Coast Guard with an HONORABLE discharge.

The abuse against the men and women in the Coast Guard needs to stop. Being raped in traumatizing enough. We do not need Captain Pete Decola to inflict secondary trauma to the brave men and women that volunteered to serve their country.

We are hoping that Captain Pete Decola stops abusing men and women in the Coast Guard that report rape. Our Coast Guardsmen and women deserve better.

If you have been abused by Captain Pete Decola or have witnessed Pete Decola or anyone else blame, not believe or abuse a Coast Guard rape survivor please contact us at panayiota@stopmilitaryrape.org.

-written by M.

14 comments

  1. I hope that all victims of rape sue Captain Pete Decola. There are more than enough witnesses that are willing to speak out that they heard Decola telling us that rape victims are crazy and liars. He says it with such intense anger. Makes you wonder what he is trying to hide.

  2. Many of these victims had to endure over 6 years of abuse by members of the United States Coast Guard. I pray that they all can heal. The entire nation admires the survivors for coming forward with these allegations and for speaking the truth. Speaking out and naming the offenders does make the Coast Guard a safer place.

  3. These women are protected under the WhistleBlower Protection Act. http://www.whistleblowers.gov/

    The moment he singled out rape victims he violated federal policies.

    I recommend reporting it through the US Congress instead of directly to the Coast Guard that would more likely than not sweep it under the rug.

    Also talk to Susan Burke for further legal advice. Decola was in the wrong not you guys. <3 you have my support.

  4. I was in Boston from 2009-2012. I personally witnessed Pete Decola telling a group of us that the rape victim from Maine was crazy and deserved to be rape, the rape victim from Vermont was crazy, the rape victim from the Seneca was also crazy and making it all up, the victim from the Escanaba was crazy and a rape victim from Campbell was crazy and making it all up. I think that there was more.

    I am a Catholic church sex abuse victim. I was 9 when I reported sexual abuse. My religious teacher told me to keep quiet. I was sent to speak to the headmaster and he told me that I am lying. During mass it was announced that there were false rumors being spread around and not to believe them. My family even told me to remain quiet. It took over 3 decades for anyone to take me seriously. By then there was not enough evidence so he remained a free man.

    I am not willing to speak to the media but I am willing to write a witness statement if you choose to bring civil charges up against Decola. I know how it is like to report sexual abuse and not be believed. I know of several others in the room that were as equally disgusted as I was when we heard Pete Decola dismissing rape allegations. I can certainly talk to them.

  5. I was there when Pete Decola told us that there was a rally outside by multiple rape victims. I looked outside and not one person was out there protesting. Nobody saw them protesting. When Decola was questioned about it he mentioned names of who he saw. I never heard of those names before but from what I heard it was investigated and it came back that all the people protesting was his imagination and he was lying about it. I heard that they tracked down someone that he said that he saw and she said that she was not even in Boston or even in the country that day. They made her send over copies of her passport and airplane ticket to prove that she was not in the country.

    Decola makes stuff up.

    I want to thank you for helping us who do not have a voice. I was never raped but I served in the Coast Guard for over a decade and I know how victims are treated. I hope you can change that. I want the Coast Guard to be safe enough for my daughter. Right now I would not allow my daughter to enlist.

    I can not help out since I am still in but I am sure to include you in my yearly charities that gets a donation from me.

  6. “The US Congress also estimates that less than 10% of all rapes are ever reported due to harsh retaliation against the victim (such as losing their careers, being called “crazy” and “liars”, etc…) The United States Congress also estimates that less than 90% of all reported rapes end up in trial–with most accused rapist leave the Coast Guard with an HONORABLE discharge.”

    This needs to change ASAP. Officers like Captain Pete Decola are using threats and intimidation to defer survivors from coming forward. The Coast Guard needs to provide men and women a safe place to report a rape or sexual assault without the survivor having to fear if Pete Decola-or those like Pete Decola- are going to use their allegations against them for years to come. The Coast Guard really needs to crack down on people that are hurting rape survivors. If I was raped in the Coast Guard in 2013 and I witnessed Pete Decola STILL abusing women that came forward with rape in 2006 you as heck know that I ‘ll be part of the 90% of survivors that do not report their rape. I don’t want it to be the year 2020 and have people still talk about and doubt my rape. No thanks.

  7. “A civilian anti-rape advocate/peer rape counselor was verbally assaulted by Pete Decola. She wrote about her ordeal for CNN. ”

    You know you are doing something right if the Coast Guard is scared of you guys. I do not think it is anger against those that reported rape as much as it is fear that you are unraveling the way rape victims are treated.

    An email went out a few weeks ago in Portsmouth with the names of several rape survivors. I forwarded it to you guys. Hope you can find the victims and get them help.

  8. I heard Capt. Decola tell a room of around 50 that he was angry that shirts were being sold that says Coast Guard rape victim or something like that. They were sold as a fundraiser in some stores in NYC and Cambridge.

    I heard that the profit of the shirts went to agencies that help rape survivors so it is not like someone pocketed from selling them. He was more upset that shirts were sold with the word Coast Guard and rape on them than the fact that someone actually needed to make such a shirt. Shouldn’t he be more angry at the men that are raping these women instead of the organization that is working to help the women? He definitely has his priorities all screwed up.

  9. J-A,

    Decola should use his rank as a Captain to help work towards eliminating the rape culture than contributing to is. I am a Coast Guard rape survivor and it saddens me to see what Decola might have said about me if he knew my name and what happened to me.

    I was forwarded this link by friends that I have an active duty that know how passionate that I am to helping others. I just sent an email to be a volunteer so we can help stop people like Decola make it more difficult to report rape. The email was forwarded so many times and it sure looks like it is making the rounds. I am glad. People SHOULD to be upset at the things that Pete Decola said to women.

    I have done a google search and it looks like his wife is battling breast cancer and he has two young daughters. How would he feel if we use degrading words to describe his wife? How would he like it if somebody went in front of a room of 50, 100 and make fun of his wife for going through something soo horrific? How would Decola feel if others put blame on his wife for having breast cancer. They could easily mention myths about breast cancer and put the blame on her. She should have eaten healthier food, she should have been healthier, she must have bad karma for getting breast cancer. She should have taken better care of herself. Look what she putting her family through! What an attention-whore for walking around with a shirt that says she is a survivor! I don’t want to know you ta-ta’s were cut off. Maybe she does not even have breast cancer and she making it all up for attention and because she is crazy. Heck, anybody can buy a breast cancer survivor shirt! Of course most people won’t say that so why does Decola think it is okay to say similar offensive things about a rape survivor? The rape survivor has the right to wear a t-shirt that says she is a rape survivor (it was mentioned in the email. not sure of the accuracy) just like Elise Decola-his wife has the right to wear a pink shirt with the word survivor on it. Both of these women survived horrific ordeals. If they need to call themselves survivors to heal from the emotional scars then let them do so without harassing them!

    I did not report my rape because of fear that I would be retaliated against. A woman at my unit in Astoria, OR was brutally raped. Three years later when I was in Astoria they were still laughing at her even though it was a mostly brand new crew. They were using the rape victim photo as dart practice. I was brutally raped by a Chief. I did not report it because I did not want to be their next dart practice. This was a long time ago and from the active duty stories that I am hearing things are getting considerably worst. Using a rape survivor as dart practice is one thing. Telling a room of 50 that a rape survivor is crazy and making things up takes it to a whole new level. The first thing that came to my mind is how many of those that witnessed it might end up getting raped at sometime in their Coast Guard career. As much as I am happy that I did not report it cause I know it would have gone nowhere at times I wish that I did for the sliver of hope that I would be the needle in the haystack and be taken seriously. If I was 20 years old that was just raped and I heard Pete Decola call rape victims crazy I sure as heck would not be reporting my rape.

    Pete Decola stroke a nerve to so many people. I hope that everybody is thinking about their wives, sisters, daughters, mothers, aunts, cousins, friends, shipmates and think how you would feel if Pete Decola was talking about somebody that you care about that is suffering because of rape.

    Pete Decola if you are reading this know that you are the lowest form of human being on this planet. Your behavior is putting fear into people reporting their crimes and letting rapists go free and rape others. You are as bad if not worst than a rapist. I am a strong believer of Karma and I know that things would eventually catch up to you. Let the higher powers do their job.

  10. I am a journalist who is looking to speak with Coast Guard members — either active duty or retired — about sexual abuse in the Guard. If you would like to tell your story about Pete Decola or other service members who are acting against survivors of MST, please feel free to contact me. Your privacy will be respected: jnanos@bostonmagazine.com

  11. Thank you very much for posting this. I am working hard to help rape victims and then Captain Decola does something like and put the Coast Guard back 20 years? Capt. Decola you are a disgrace to all that wear the uniform.

  12. Hasn’t she suffered enough? For her to become a target for threats, after all she’s been through, is… well, I don’t even have the words…

    @Victim Advocate: You are not the only one that feels that way. I am a volunteer with MRCC and active duty Coast Guard. I try to promote a culture at my station that won’t tolerate rape and I think for the most part I have been successful. When I read things like this it angers me because while I work so hard to promote a safe work space for the women under my command others are doing the exact opposite.

  13. Why isn’t the Coast Guard charging Decola for intimidating and threatening a witness? A rape accuser is always a witness to their own crime. I was listening to NPR about the arrests in Steubenville yesterday because two people threatened and did not believe a rape victim. Why isn’t a rape victim in the Coast Guard subject to the same protection as a rape victim in a small town in middle of nowhere Ohio?

    Telling a room full of Coast Guardsmen and women that rape survivors are crazy and liars is not normal behavior. It is behavior of that of a sexual predator and a rapist. Elise Decola if you are reading this I hope you finally have the courage to see the monster that you married. I pray for his two young daughters to remain safe from the monster they call a father. If Decola did what he did to many women in the Coast Guard I can only imagine what he is doing to his own family.

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