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Head Of Mass. National Guard Facing Rape Allegation

This article is more than 7 years old.

An official in Gov. Deval Patrick's administration says the governor moved immediately to suspend the head of the Massachusetts National Guard after learning that he was being investigated for the alleged rape of a subordinate nearly 30 years ago.

Secretary of Public Safety Mary Beth Heffernan told reporters Friday that Adjutant Gen. Joseph Carter told Patrick on Thursday that he was the subject of a probe by the U.S. Army's Criminal Investigations Division.

"Certainly any allegations like this are very concerning," she said. "We are taking it very, very seriously."

Heffernan said Patrick moved to place Carter on paid leave. She said the administration was not aware of any investigation before Thursday.

"I was sorry to learn of the investigation," she said. "We took some swift action, and the governor was clear that he wanted swift action to be taken."

The alleged rape occurred in Florida in 1984 when Carter was a lieutenant and the alleged victim — Susan Pelletier, who has spoken publicly about the incident — was a private. Carter has denied the charge.

"I begged him, I begged him," Pelletier told WBZ-TV. "And he'd know. He held me down, he had his way. The more I said no, the more aggressive he'd get. He raped me."

Heffernan says an interim commander for the National Guard will be named soon.

With reporting by The Associated Press and the WBUR Newsroom

This program aired on March 30, 2012. The audio for this program is not available.

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