Military Sexual Assault, Adverse Administrative Separation Board, No Basis to Separate (US v SSG, Eglin AFB, 7th Special Forces Group)

Client was investigated for sexual assault of a civilian female. The case centered around a female who had gotten into a fight with her military spouse husband. The police showed up, and arrested her husband and left her in the breeze way of her apartment locked out. The police declined to help her into her apartment. As the police left, my client pulled up. He walked up stairs and the female asked him for assistance. He offered his couch to sleep on and they could sort out the door issue in the morning. He had never interacted with her before. As he went to bed, he left his bedroom door open to keep on eye on her. As he was about to go to sleep, the female slipped into bed with him, and one thing led to the next. The next day Client helped her get into her apartment. He drove her around, found a locksmith and ultimately, she was able to get into her apartment. However, she decided to claim sexual assault, even though there were roommates in the apartment who observed in part what had happened. Client was investigated for sexual assault and adultery. He was found to have committed adultery but not sexual assault. Still, the legal office decided to pursue a separation action for sexual assault and adultery anyway. Though he readily admitted adultery, the board ultimately found no basis to separate on the grounds of sexual assault. This case highlights that criminal defense is a people business. Unfortunately, despite the evidence shown, some military prosecutors find it necessary to go after Soldiers for claims of sexual assault because they “feel” that is the right thing to do. I have had multiple SJA’s tell me that sometimes a case just must go to a court or a board because we don’t know what happened. In my view, that is the wrong answer. In fact it is a ethically dubious position. I was always taught to charge what the evidence shows. If you have definitive evidence that a crime likely didn’t occur, then leave it alone. Unfortunately, many military prosecutors and legal offices have forgotten this simple concept.




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