On November 6, Honolulu, Hawaii – At Bieneman’s trial in the United States, Stephen Tyler Bieneman pleaded not guilty to charges of a violent attack on the US McMurdo Research Station in Antarctica the previous November.
McMurdo Station is an American scientific research station in Antarctica, located on Ross Island – the southern tip of New Zealand. Photo: AP
From prosecutors’ allegations, the incident occurred late on November 24, 2022, or early on November 25, 2022. A woman was sitting in a dorm living room waiting to do laundry when Bienemann, intoxicated from a birthday party, walked in.
This girl made fun of Bienemann by taking his name tag and running around the sofa without returning it. Bienemann pinned the woman to the floor, placed his foot on her neck and reached into her pocket to find her name tag.
According to prosecutors, she repeatedly said she couldn’t breathe for a minute until Bieneman got her luggage and removed her legs. After this he had to go to the clinic for checkup.
“During a medical examination a week after the incident, the victim said his muscle tension had improved, but he still struggled with insomnia, loss of appetite, anxiety and depression – consequences of the attack. “After this, the victim left his job at the McMurdo Research Station” – from the indictment.
On December 10, 2022, 2 weeks after the incident, Bieneman was sent by the US National Science Foundation (NSF) with the COLDEX field team to the Allen Hills Plateau, more than 160 km from McMurdo Research Station. The role of the Bienman is to be responsible for the security of the team.
Court records show an arrest warrant for Bieneman was issued on December 12, 2022. However, Bienemann left on December 19, 2022. He stayed here for a whole week.
Court records show that Bienemann was fired when he returned to the research station from the field camp. He was given an air ticket to America and when he landed in Hawaii he was arrested. Later, Bieneman was released on $25,000 bail.
Stephen Tyler Bieneman (right) leaving federal court in Honolulu on November 6. Photo: AP
NSF declined to answer questions about its reason for sending Bieneman into the field in a relatively important security role despite being under investigation.
Bienemann’s lawyer, Mr Birnie Barwer, said the incident was just a “prank”. Mr Barwer described the woman as “offensive and offensive” because she was not invited to Bienemann’s birthday party.
However, a member of the field team, University of Washington professor Howard Conway, wrote in a complaint to the NSF that Bieneman told students about the controversy that occurred at McMurdo Research Station. “He said he had a fight with a woman, he struggled with her, which left him with breathing problems and so he needed treatment.”
According to the Associated Press on November 7, Bienemann initially cooperated very well with the field team when setting up camp. However, according to Mr Cowne, Bienemann was “domineering and critical” towards the female students in the group.
The Allan Hills Ice Plateau, located in the Oates Land and Victoria Land regions of Antarctica, is a famous field site. Photo: Mike Waszkiewicz
Federal prosecutor Mohammed Khatib said Bieneman’s actions were criminal. “When given the choice to solve a problem peacefully or violently, the defendant chose violence,” Mr Khatib told the jury.
In an Associated Press investigation in August this year, women at the McMurdo Research Station had one thing in common: When they reported sexual assault or harassment, they were almost always attacked by their employers.
On November 3, the NSF Oversight Office announced that they would be sending people to investigate McMurdo Research Station this month.