Article 125- Sodomy
Article 125 of the Manual of Court Martial concerns sodomy. The text of
the statute says that any service member who engages in an unnatural form
of carnal copulation with another individual belonging to the same sex
or the opposite sex, or an animal will be held guilty of sodomy.
Penetration, to whatever extent, is enough to build a case for sodomy.
Any service member who is found to have sodomized another person or an
animal will be punished as directed by a court martial.
Elements of this offense
- The defendant has engaged in carnal copulation of an unnatural order with
a certain individual or an animal.
Here are a few more points that must be added if applicable.
- The act was done on a child who was under the age of 12.
- The act was done on a child who had attained the age of 12 years but not
the age of 16 years.
- The act was committed by force and did not have the other person's consent.
Explanation for elements
Carnal copulation is deemed unnatural if a person takes into his mouth
or anus another individual's sexual organ or the sexual organ of an
animal, or places his sexual organ into another individual's mouth
or anus, or engages in carnal copulation with any opening in the other
person's body, other than the sexual parts, or commits carnal copulation
with an animal.
Maximum Punishment if a Service Member is Found Guilty of the Offense Under
- If force was used and there was no consent.
Maximum punishment: A dishonorable discharge from the military, forfeiture of allowances
and pay, and life imprisonment without a chance for parole.
- If the act of sodomy was committed on a child who has attained the age
of 12 years, but not the age of 16 years.
Maximum punishment: The accused can be punished with a dishonorable discharge, forfeit of
all allowances and pay and 20 years of confinement.
- If the act of sodomy was committed on a child who had not attained the
age of 12 years when the act was committed.
Maximum punishment: Dishonorable discharge, forfeit of allowances and pay and 5 years of
- Other cases (For example, committing sodomy on an animal)
Dishonorable discharge, forfeit of allowances and pay and 5 years of confinement.
An Example to Explain the Charge Under Article 125
Sometime back, a soldier from Fort Stewart was charged with raping another
soldier who was also junior to the accused in rank. The victim had approached
the accused outside a shop at Fort Steward after confusing the accused
with another person. But when he realized that he did not know the accused,
he walked away.
At this point, the accused caught up with the victim and invited him to
his house, which was located off base. The victim being new to the base
and eager to make friends agreed to accompany the accused to his house.
The accused then stopped at a video store and rented some movies including
a pornographic movie. After the two watched the pornographic movie, the
accused forced the victim into having sex. The victim did not report the
attack for the next few weeks because he was scared. In the meanwhile,
he even attempted suicide.
The victim finally mustered up the courage to complain and a few days later,
the accused was taken into custody. In the subsequent court martial, the
accused was handed a 15 year jail term, a reduction in rank, forfeiture
of all allowances and pay and a dishonorable discharge from the armed forces.
Mr. Jordan has successfully defended clients against charges of forcible
oral, and anal sodomy.