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The Bristlecone Project

Portraits and Biographies of Male Survivors

Mason Weiss

A Major in the United States Army, and a senior Judge Advocate attorney, Mason spends much of his time teaching. Previously, he both prosecuted and more often defended Soldiers accused of serious crimes, including sex offenses. It is a surprising occupation for a man who was himself sexually abused as a child. But Mason’s explanation is as simple as it is emphatic: offenders should be held accountable for their actions, but only after the justice system has determined their guilt through a fair legal process. He works to ensure that fairness.
The man who abused Mason escaped justice by committing suicide before the law could close in on him. His escape robbed Mason of the possibility of an answer to the question that burns in the hearts of many survivors: “why?”

Mason survived the legacies of the abuse he suffered by relying on his native intelligence, his capacity for work, his willingness to confront those legacies, and his willingness to seek help when he needed it. And one more thing: the fortitude of the strong woman, his mother, who raised him.

Deployed to Iraq in 2007-08, Mason worked with others to rebuild the Iraqi justice system. Rockets and IED’s were an ever present danger, and some people in the area he served were killed or wounded in these attacks. Mason returned from his deployment unscathed, and he now is turning his attention to the next chapter in his life after he retires from the Military.