National News

Mother of slain Marine urges more help for assault victims

Posted July 31, 2008

— The mother of a slain Camp Lejeune Marine on Thursday called for more protection for servicemen and women who have been sexually assaulted.

"I'm here to ask you to do what you can to help change how the military treats victims of crime," Mary Lauterbach told members of a congressional oversight committee.

Lance Cpl. Maria Lauterbach was beaten to death in December, and her charred remains were found a month later in a shallow grave behind the home of a fellow Marine. She was seven months pregnant at the time of her death.

Cpl. Cesar Laurean has been charged with murder in the case. He was arrested in Mexico after a three-month manhunt and is awaiting extradition to North Carolina.

A year ago, Maria Lauterbach accused Laurean of rape, a charge he denied. Camp Lejeune officials changed her job so the two would no longer work together, and they investigated her claims.

Mary Lauterbach said her daughter was repeatedly harassed on base after she became pregnant.

"She became pregnant – she became aware of it at the end of June, beginning of July (2007) – and shortly thereafter her car was vandalized," Mary Lauterbach said. "She reported it, and the Marines dismissed it. (Later,) she was getting something out of her trunk at twilight, they yelled her name (and) she turned around and got punched in the face.

"She was very afraid at this point," her mother testified. "She once again went and reported it. They said, 'Can you identify the voice?' She said, 'No, I'm not certain who it is.' They said, 'Well, we can't link this to your sexual assault allegations, so too bad.'"

Maria Lauterbach asked for a transfer but was denied, her mother said.

"They said, 'Don't bother. It's not going to happen,'" she said.

Camp Lejeune spokesman Lt. Col. Curtis Hill said in a statement Thursday afternoon that Maria Lauterbach told her superior officer that Laurean wasn't the person who attacked her in the parking lot. She also failed to report the incident to the Provost Marshal's Office so an investigation could be initiated, the statement said.

Mary Lauterbach insisted Thursday that her daughter and unborn grandchild might not have died If the Marines had paid more attention to her daughter's complaints and had handled the situation better.

"I believe that Maria would be alive today if the Marines had provided a more effective system to protect the victims of sexual assault," she said.

The military needs to investigate and prosecute cases more quickly and needs to provide more victim advocacy and more security, including transfers and protective orders, she said.

"A victim should not have to connect the dots between incidents of harassment and a rape claim," she said. "Victims of sexual assault should not be left to twist and turn while their claim is being prosecuted or dismissed."


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  • dogman1973 Aug 1, 2008

    Isn't this the same mom who said her daughter was a pathological liar before CPL Lauterbach's body was found? Guess she is trying to redeem herself!

  • coastlover Jul 31, 2008

    Tired Of Excuses, there were actually two allegations of rape. The first one occurred late March 2007 and the other in early April 2007. Lauterbach didn't report the rapes until approximately one month later, so no rape kit was used. It's perplexing to me why her mother only states that one rape occurred.

    Go over to MSNBC and watch the Dateline segment concerning the death of Maria Lauterbach, it's an eye opener. You'll hear the Lauterbach family's side and the investigational side. Maria Lauterbach told two different versions, one to her family and the one to the investigators.

  • Tired Of Excuses Jul 31, 2008

    I'm not a big fan of hearsay. Mom wasn't there to hear what was said by the USMC to her daughter.
    I have but one question. The female Marine was raped. Was a rape kit and exam done? If not I will have a very hard time believing the allegation of rape. Many single women who have relations with a married man discover that they won't get happily ever after from him will do and say anything often with very life threatening results.
    I need a little more proof than Mom saying that the Marines failed to keep her daughter safe.

  • Frank Downtown Jul 31, 2008

    This is typical for how women are treated in the marine corp and other military branches.

  • Adelinthe Jul 31, 2008


    The good ones do, my friend, it's only a few who think the uniform makes them Mister Macho, but most of them are absolutely wonderful.

    God bless.

    Rev. RB

  • teacher-mom Jul 31, 2008

    It is too late for Maria; however, it may save someone else. It does seem that female military members need some more protection. I hope the military makes a move toward this. Civilians also need more protection. When anyone is a victim, there needs to be more protection. I know it is not possible to assign a bodyguard to everyone. There has to be some workable solution.

  • tank1234 Jul 31, 2008


  • ginlee00 Jul 31, 2008

    I applaud this mom. I hope what she says makes a difference.How frightening to think officials will not help when a victim pleads with them to take action. I wonder if a person can sue the Marine Corps for neglect in a case like this .

  • Adelinthe Jul 31, 2008

    Bravo!!! What a strong and courageous mother!


    When I went to my nephew's USMC Boot Camp graduation, the commanding general said, "More changes in the Marine Corps have been brought by mothers than by any other force on earth." I chuckled and said, "Yeah, I bet!"

    But it shouldn't have to come to that. If they are truly rearing responsible adults, it simply shouldn't have to come to that, and if they are not, take their weapons away because they aren't mature enough to handle them.

    Praying for this poor family.

    God bless.

    Rev. RB

  • RealityAddict Jul 31, 2008

    Bravo!!! What a strong and courageous mother!