HAMPDEN: Allegations of sexual harassment going on inside a local V.F.W. And the accused, a decorated veteran.
Meet Lynsie Bachelder…a graduate of Rangeley Lakes Regional High School, a mother of two currently studying to become a dental hygienist, and an army veteran, having served one tour of duty in Afghanistan. Now that she’s returned to civilian life, she’s the only female member of the Whitcomb – Baker V.F.W. post 4633 in Hampden, and it’s here where she says her troubles began.
“since May of 2016, at the VFW in Hampden I have been sexually harassed, dirty things have been said to me, my friends have been made to feel uncomfortable there and one incident took place in front of my two daughters” Traditionally, VFW’s are places where those that have served can go and be with other veteran, but Bachelder says for her, that’s not the case anymore.
The allegations were brought to the attention of then Commander Samuel Cannon, who began the process of dealing with the alleged incidents. However, he says the state VFW claimed the complaint was handled incorrectly and refused the findings of the local committee, “I felt the state could have helped us, could have been more responsible, and stepped up to the plate and done what they were supposed to do”
Cannon says this isn’t the first time. “We’ve had an issue with our ladies auxiliary in the past, I’ve had women complain to me, but there was no formal complaint made..this year we’ve had 3 formal complaints” Cannon wants the public to know, he believes this is not acceptable in an organization struggling to build membership, especially with female veterans. Both Bachelder and Cannon want the state VFW to look into the issue
again, and deal with this issue of alleged harassment within the organization. They say in doing so, they hope to make the VFW safe and welcoming to all veterans. ABC 7 and FOX 22 reached out the the man accused of the allegations multiple times as well as to the state VFW. But have not received a response, The police have not been contacted in the case, and no charges have been filed.