Chances are if you walk into the lakefront restaurant Sunsets on Wayzata Bay on any given weekday morning, you'll run into Robert Shadley having breakfast with several of his closest friends at Table One.
"Every morning except Wednesday and then we have another breakfast club," said Shadley.
Shadley retired to Wayzata after spending 33 years in the U.S. Army. When he retired in 2000, he was a two-star general who had guided 3,500 service members in combat and more than 20,000 students in training.
But retired Maj. Gen. Shadley is also remembered as being a key figure in a military sex scandal that surfaced at a Maryland Army base.
"Several people knew what these guys were doing and didn't do anything about it," said Shadley. "The first thing you always have to do is follow the chain of command. When your first line supervisor is rotten, what do you do?"
The major general had only been on the job a few months when information surfaced about frequent sexual assaults between instructors and trainees.
"I couldn't believe the stuff," said Shadley. "That's when I told higher headquarters, 'I've got a problem here and I need to have some outside people look at this.' So, there's a saying -- I called friendly fire in on my own position."
The scandal made national headlines, resulting in a reprimand that some say was a career ender for Shadley.
"I didn't find out about [the scandal] within 90 days of command, it took me nine months," said Shadley.
After a seven-month investigation ending in 1997, Shadley was exonerated and the reprimand removed from his record. He retired three years later with no regrets that he did what he could to protect soldiers under his command.
"I can get up every morning when I shave and know I did the right thing," said Shadley. "With all due respect to my superiors, I think some of them may have a hard time with that."
Shadley moved on to consulting work and establishing a life in Wayzata, but he hasn't stopped talking about the issue of sexual assaults in the military. It's the subject of his book,"The GAMe: Unraveling a Military Sex Scandal."
"There's just some stuff you just can't tolerate," said Shadley. "In our society, it's important for all of us to do the right thing."
While Shadley hopes his book attracts national attention, he's also glad to see the Department of Defense start making headway in keeping records of sexual assaults and taking care of victims.
"In my mind, the same person in a military unit who is worried about protecting solider from IEDs or roadside bombs should be worried about protecting the soldiers from sexual predators," said Shadley. "If you see someone doing wrong, you have to point it out."
Shadley mentions how sexual assaults are handled is an issue that should be discussed far beyond the military. He points to high profile sexual predator cases in the Catholic church or at Penn State as evidence that there are abuse problems elsewhere.
"All it takes is a few bad ones and your whole organization is painted in a bad light. If everyone looks out for doing the right thing, then the organization as a whole will succeed," said Shadley. "Our military is still very sound. It's just a few people who are causing the problem. The young men and women in our military are very outstanding."
The book is available on www.shadleyeditions.com or on www.amazon.com. The book sells for just more than $21, and the ebook sells for around $10.
Shannon Slatton, reporting
Friday, April 12, 2013