PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — A Port St. Lucie veteran who was raped by her instructor while serving in the military unanimously won her U.S. Supreme Court case on Thursday.
Harmony Allen, who served in the Air Force, said she was beaten and raped by Master Sgt. Richard Collins in 2000 when she was 19 years old.
When Allen reported the rape to military officials, she initially kept Collins' name a secret for more than 10 years.
It wasn't until 2014 that she named her attacker, which started a legal process that ultimately led to Collins' conviction of rape, battery, and assault in 2017.
Collins was sentenced to more than 16 years in prison but only served two years after appealing his sentence and winning.
Collins' argument was that, according to the Uniform Code of Military Justice, rape that occurred between 1986 and 2006 can be prosecuted only if it was discovered and charged within five years.
Because Allen did not officially name Collins within five years of the rape, she felt Collins wrongfully won a statute of limitations appeal.
However, on Thursday, the U.S Supreme Court sided with Allen in an 8-0 vote, determining that there is not a five-year statute of limitations for rape charges and convictions in the military.
Allen released this statement following Thursday's legal victory:
"This has been a long and difficult journey, but today’s ruling finally brings me peace. For years, I had to live with the fact that my rapist was set free with nothing stopping him from doing to another innocent woman what he did to me. Today’s decision changes that, and after all these years, I can finally take a deep breath knowing that justice has been served."
Allen's case was elevated to the U.S. Supreme Court with the help of U.S. Rep. Brian Mast, R-Fla.
"To say that this is personal for them would be an understatement," Rep. Mast said. "They went through something extremely traumatic that most of us could never imagine, and then they had justice occur, then justice ripped away from them on some stupid, lawyered-up technicality. I just couldn’t be happier for her as a survivor to have justice returned."
According to Rep. Mast's office, as a result of the Supreme Court’s decision, Collins will be sent back to prison.
#BREAKING: Harmony Allen, the Port St. Lucie veteran who was raped in the military, just won her U.S Supreme Court fight by an 8-0 vote, challenging statute of limitation laws. The case was elevated to the Supreme Court with the help of @RepBrianMast.— Meghan McRoberts (@MeghanWPTV) December 10, 2020
More details to come. @WPTV pic.twitter.com/X9vjHCNxFd