U.S. Army V. E-7, (Sexual Assault, Assault, Violations of Article 120 and 128, UCMJ)
Kaiserslautern, Germany (Kleber Kaserne)
Client is a 18 year veteran of the US Army. He has deployed 3 times and served as a Drill Sergeant. He was accused of sexually assaulting a woman in a bar in Amsterdam during the Kings Day Parade. He was also accused of assaulting her by strangling her about 4 weeks after the aforementioned allegation.
Client is stationed at SHAPE (Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe) , Belgium. About 4 years ago, he had an on again off again relationship with his soon to be accuser. In February of 2014, his accuser contacted him via social media. They began intense conversations about starting a life together. Unbeknownst to Client, his accuser was married, but living with her boyfriend…all while she is leading Client to believe that she wants to start a new life and come live with him. Client pays for her passport to be produced. Client pays for her online college classes. Client pays for her flight tickets to Belgium. Client pays for her car insurance whilst she visited him in Belgium. Client purchased a round trip ticket for her because they both wanted to return to the USA for personal matters relating to their family. The idea was, after their brief return to the States, she was going to move with him to a new duty station once he was slated to PCS. Over messaging, and email they talked about everything from marriage to kids. During her visit with Client, she was able to visit 5 countries and 7 major cities in less than 60 days. About half way through the trip, the accuser asks Client to take her to the post office on post to mail off her divorce paperwork. This was the first time Client was aware of her current marriage. A few weeks later, he overheard her talking to another man. Client also observed that his accuser had posted on facebook that she was in Orlando Florida, when in fact she was in Belgium with him. At this point, he had a enough and started his own investigation. He found out who the man was she was talking to was her ex-boyfriend. She was communicating to him that she was going to come back to the states, and go live with him. The ex-boyfriend had no idea that Client’s accuser was living with Client in Belgium. Client confronted her on what he had found out and that is when all hell broke loose. There was a lot of yelling on her part and then some tug of war with a purse, then she went yelling down the street. Belgian Federal Police arrive with the MPs shortly thereafter to collect her belongings. Then they took Client’s statement. Whilst Client was giving his statement on the porch of his residence, the accuser was sitting in one of the MP’s cruisers. When she saw him defending himself, she jumped out of the car on 3 different occasions yelling and screaming at Client. Picture a scene from COPS. On the third occasion, she asks the MP? “What is it when someone has sex with you and you don’t want it?” The MP said rape. Then she replied, “Since he is going to lie on me, how about he tell you about the time he raped me in Amsterdam.”
Over the course of the investigation, the accuser gave slightly altered versions of her story. She lied to investigators about her marital status. She lied to investigators on scene about her military status. She told them she was in the Army Reserves, when in point of fact she had been discharged from the Army Reserves with an Other Than Honorable Discharge. Client was also unaware of that tidbit of information. What was most interesting was the story she told about Amsterdam. She detailed how she had drank a fair amount, but that she was aware of her surroundings and new what was going on. She detailed how she went upstairs to the bathroom under her own power with no help or assistance. Then she detailed that Client burst into her stall the second time she was in the bathroom, yanked her up, turned her around, shoved her head in the toilet bowl and raped her. Then she told the Belgian Federal Police that she had consensual sex with Client at least 7 more times after this alleged incident occurred.
During trial, Mr. Jordan cross examined Client’s accuser for over 2 and half hours. He first started with her numerous and lengthy messages and emails with Client. The accuser did not want to agree to anything Mr. Jordan asked her, so he simply confronted her with her own words. On numerous occasions, the accuser, when shown her own words would simply reply, “That is what I read Mr. Jordan” and would not even agree with her own words. When confronted with 17 photos that the accuser took, some of which put her in bed with Client doing all manner of things, the accuser simply said “I’m done”, and with two dainty fingers, lightly slid the photos away from her as if they were discarded napkins. Mr. Jordan, confused by this response asked her, “what do you mean you are done? Are you done testifying? I don’t understand.” She replied that she was done looking at the photos when in point of fact she did not even look at them. After some back and forth between Mr. Jordan and the accuser, the Judge ordered the accuser to look at the photos, which were subsequently admitted into evidence and immediately shown to the jury. The accuser also attempted to trip Mr. Jordan up by saying his questions were too complicated or that he was speaking too fast. Mr. Jordan slowed his rate of speech down….on purpose. Then, being fed up with the accuser’s nonsense on the stand, asked her a series of questions pertaining to her education level on the fly. She had two years of college and was pursuing her LPN. This series of questions promptly drew an objection. Mr. Jordan responded with, “clearly this witness is well educated, multiple times she has requested that I slow down, or that I rephrase my questions.” The judge overruled the government’s objections and Mr. Jordan kept his cross-examination moving, thus speeding up to an appropriate speed to keep things going.
Mr. Jordan skillfully, and artfully drew out all of the facts to show that the accuser was a liar, a manipulator and that she was clearly unstable. She made her allegations in late May of 2014. By mid July of 2014, she was married to a completely different man (not her ex-boyfriend previously mentioned). Client also took the stand and testified in his defense providing the real course of events of what occurred in the public restroom in Amsterdam. They were drinking. She went to the bathroom once on her own and then returned. They continued to drink and she told him that she wanted him. He asked for clarification, and she said she wanted him now. He asked for clarification and explained it would be a few hours before they would get back to their residence in Belgium. She said she wanted him now, and that they could go to the bathroom. So, they both trooped upstairs, they paid the bathroom attendant whose table was just outside the female bathroom, they went into the bathroom, entered a stall, and commenced in consensual sex.
Client did state that after he confronted his accuser, she got upset and they got into a tussle with her purse. He bought her a Prada purse in Italy and he wanted to keep it because she was lying and cheating on him.
Hard work, thorough investigation, seasoned case planning and withering cross examination won the day for this 18 Year E-7 Veteran of the U.S. Army.
Result: NOT GUILTY of Sexual Assault, Guilty of Assault by exceptions and substitutions, excepting out the words assault by strangulation, and substituting the words tussle with a purse. Sentence: Reprimand, Forfeiture of $1,000 for two months. NO PUNITIVE DISCHARGE.
Article 120 is the military statute which defines rape, aggravated sexual assault, aggravated sexual contact, and abusive sexual contact. These offenses include different types of unlawful, forced sexual activities on another person. Charges related to sexual misconduct involving a minor fall under Article 120b.