Another Air Force Academy Cadet Charged With Sex Crime

Discussion in 'Academy/Military News' started by Luigi59, Feb 1, 2013.

  1. Luigi59

    Luigi59 Banned

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2007
    Messages:
    4,628
    Likes Received:
    5
    Clearly, whatever they are doing out there to prevent this, is not working.

    Is it a matter of better screening for admissions? More education about expected behavior (can't believe this would be the case, but I'm sure it will be the official response)

    Or is it (as almost always is the case, at every academy) alcohol-related?

    Another Air Force Academy Cadet Charged With Sex Crime

    January 31, 2013
    Future cadets be on notice - you are being held to a much higher standard as a member of the US Military, and "conduct unbecoming of a student at State U" might not be a problem in the civilian world, it will ruin your life as a future member of the armed forces.
     
  2. falconfamily

    falconfamily Member

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2011
    Messages:
    671
    Likes Received:
    9
    From what I understand Luigi, this is very early in the process. There has not been a hearing yet to determine if there is reason to send this cadet before a court martial board. In another article, the cadet's civilian lawyer stated that the cadet in question was innocent and that this will be established during the hearing. As disappointing as this latest headline is, I hesitate to react too soon to this one.
     
  3. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2007
    Messages:
    8,754
    Likes Received:
    1,004
    In a surprising turn of events, someone's defense attorney says he's innocent. :eek:

    In general cases don't go to Court Martial unless something is seriously wrong. There's a long process before it gets to that point.
     
  4. falconfamily

    falconfamily Member

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2011
    Messages:
    671
    Likes Received:
    9
    LITS, I understand your skepticism, that said - attorneys who want to have any meaningful career cannot afford to be seen as not credible by people he or she may have to present to in the future. Don't get me wrong, there had to be some cause for charges to be filed, but in a recent case, a cadet who was charged with sexual assault, was ultimately found to be innocent.
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2013
  5. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2007
    Messages:
    8,754
    Likes Received:
    1,004
    My classmate was found guilty and went to jail. His sentence was upheld after an appeal.

    In fact 100% of Coast Guard cadets who went to Court Martial were found guilty and did time (OK.... there's only been one).
     
  6. falconfamily

    falconfamily Member

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2011
    Messages:
    671
    Likes Received:
    9
    LITS, I think 100% of the guilty should be found guilty. That said, there are always cases where charges are made and the facts do not support the case. There was one incident that comes to mind from the report on sexual assaults at the service academies, it involved a female cadet who had gone drinking with several male cadets. She woke up in a hotel room with them, did not know what happened and feared the worst. Charges were filed, but the facts of the case did not support the charges and the male cadet involved was found innocent. (Note that these cadets were drinking and while the male cadet/s were absolved of sexual assault, I suspect that this does not excuse them from facing discipline for drinking).
     
  7. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2007
    Messages:
    8,754
    Likes Received:
    1,004
    Totally agree.
     
  8. usnabgo08

    usnabgo08 USNA 2008/BGO

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2007
    Messages:
    1,829
    Likes Received:
    594
    What you have pointed out is that military rules of evidence (MRE) and other UCMJ articles apply at a court-martial, whereas they do not necessarily apply at an administrative (Article 15) Non-Judicial punishment.

    The burden of proof at a court martial is "beyond a reasonable doubt," meaning if there is doubt for ANY reason, the accused cannot be found guilty. Thus, a defense attorney is likely going to try to establish some "doubt." If the minimum jury is 5, you only need to cast doubt in one-third, or 2 of the members for a "not guilty" verdict.

    The burden of proof at an Article 15 convening is "preponderance of evidence," meaning that the accused is 50.0001% likely to have committed the charged offense.

    If I recall from a recent article, sexual assault cases don't have a strong conviction rate at court-martial.
     
  9. aglages

    aglages Parent

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2009
    Messages:
    2,680
    Likes Received:
    4
    FWIW - I sent the article to my son at USAFA and he responded with the following:
    "[FONT=&quot]There were actually two of them, the other one was charged with an unrelated sexual assault crime, but the Commandant announced yesterday that there were two cadets being given Article 32 hearings, both incidents unrelated."

    [/FONT]
     
  10. Luigi59

    Luigi59 Banned

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2007
    Messages:
    4,628
    Likes Received:
    5
    That's not the case. The "doubt" must be reasonable.

    "ANY" doubt is an unrealistic standard and is not applied in any court -- military or civilian.
     
  11. falconfamily

    falconfamily Member

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2011
    Messages:
    671
    Likes Received:
    9
    Very true Luigi, it must be reasonable doubt.
     
  12. usnabgo08

    usnabgo08 USNA 2008/BGO

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2007
    Messages:
    1,829
    Likes Received:
    594
    I correctly said the standard was "beyond a reasonable doubt." What I was implying is that if there is ANY doubt as to whether the accused committed the offenses he/she is charged with, which can reasonably be inferred from the evidence/testimony, then the juror must vote not guilty.

    Article 51:
    My point still stands, if you look at the court martial statistics regarding sexual assaults, it isn't something "easy" to convict. The burden of proof is much more stringent and MRE apply, which requires much more scrutiny from investigation through trial.
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2013
  13. stella

    stella Member

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2012
    Messages:
    196
    Likes Received:
    0
    USAFA Reputation

    New to understanding the Academies in general so please excuse my ignorance but...

    Is there more of this type of stuff actually happening at the USAFA? More being reported there? More false accusations?...or just more attention paid to incidents there in general for whatever reasons?

    I have only been on this board a short while, but it seems that there was another incident in this regard talked about on these boards in the fall and an incident with folks injured in some yearly event while blowing off steam.

    I am NOT so ignorant as to think things don't happen at other SAs or that it is not worse at many civilian colleges. But I am wondering if the USAFA gets a bad wrap in this regard unfairly...or if there is a lot of work to be done there in regards to behavior?

    S
     
  14. falconfamily

    falconfamily Member

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2011
    Messages:
    671
    Likes Received:
    9

    I think it would be best for you read the report from the defense dept for yourself. With respect to USAFA, there are some incidents that really do not make sense being credited to the academy, i.e. about a dozen incidents attributed to the Academy occured BEFORE the female cadets came to the academy. There was another incident where a female cadet apparently overheard a male cadet speaking about a sexual encounter, when she asked him to stop - he did not (it seems that he was offended that the female cadet felt free to intervene in what he thought to be a private conversation) and was subsequently charged with harrassment. It is incidents like these that can skew the statistics. That said, it is a problem in the military, and it needs to be dealt with.
     
  15. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2010
    Messages:
    4,275
    Likes Received:
    606
    You're still incorrect about what "reasonable doubt" means.
     
  16. Luigi59

    Luigi59 Banned

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2007
    Messages:
    4,628
    Likes Received:
    5
    Notwithstanding the "harassment" charges and the veracity of some of them, it is pretty safe to say that almost every case of alleged sexual assault that triggers an Article 32 and/or court martial can be traced to alcohol.

    Adding more "sexual assault" awareness training or briefings or manuals or etc is proving to be ineffective. I believe that almost to a person, those who are attending SAs have the moral values to know what "not to do" when it comes to dealing with the opposite sex, but when alcohol is introduced all those little voices whispering "no don't do it" in their ears disappear.

    IMHO, the emphasis should be on alcohol awareness, training, education -- or if the only answer is prohibition, so be it. Cadets are already prohibited from exercising other "freedoms" available to civilian college students, I can't see how a complete ban on all alcohol consumption would be any different for all cadets, legal drinking age or not. And cadets who ignore the order and imbibe should be treated just as those who use drugs - disenrollment. Zero tolerance.

    FWIW, I sincerely believe that sexual assaults would drop to almost zero if that happened.
     
  17. falconfamily

    falconfamily Member

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2011
    Messages:
    671
    Likes Received:
    9
    I missed addressing this one on the first pass. This was something called First Snow First Shirt, it is a tradition of sorts where underclassmen attempt to throw the Squadron First Sargent outside on to the snow. There was an admonition made to the wing in an email by the Dean after the latest one, she was concerned about the number of injuries that occurred. This letter became public and soon found itself plastered all over the news as a "Brawl". I think that is a rather unfortunate characterization and it led to a lot of bad press. Personally I don't have a problem with cadets engaging in such rituals, as long as it does not impact the good order and discipline of the unit. For civilians, I think there is some sort of disconnect between what they expect and the reality of the profession of arms. This story of the Air Force Academy "Brawl" brings all of these conflicts in to focus.
     
  18. Spud

    Spud BGO

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2011
    Messages:
    528
    Likes Received:
    460
    Luigi always has a great take on things and his observation that eliminating alcohol would eliminate sexual bad behavior definitely has more truth than poetry in it. And is very accurate, however, it may be a case of trading the devil for the witch.

    In my day as a Midshipman, there was a complete prohibition on alcohol for everybody and the only time you could drink was beyond the Annapolis area which we certainly did. The result was typical college binge-drinking on liberty after football games, leave, weekend liberty, but never in the Annapolis area. I never saw anybody come in boozed into Bancroft Hall---hung over from the bars in Baltimore's Combat Zone maybe, but never drunk. The whole thing was, we wanted to have what we were missing every opportunity we could. The pattern continued after graduation in which, with all the freedom in the world, young ensigns drank themselves into DUIs, making asses of themselves at official parties, and showing up hung over for work far too often. It took a few years of maturity before that disappeared but it was a legitimate matter of concern for the Academy and the Navy. Interestingly enough, the ROTC ensigns had already gone through all that at Civilian U. and many times out-shown the Academy officers because they had already been-there-done-that.

    Now alcohol is allowed earlier under controlled and legal circumstances and while the binge drinking on liberty has gone down, the problems now come earlier and with women in the mix, alcohol-fueled stupidity comes too. I would feel that the present approach is better than the old days. If that is the case then, you cannot get too overworked about alcohol screw ups at the Academies and automatically think there is some failure of the system. Maybe it needs tweaking but it is hardly broke.
     
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2013
  19. USMA2020

    USMA2020 Member

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2013
    Messages:
    194
    Likes Received:
    0
    I think this makes a lot of sense. I personally don't understand the point of drinking in the first place, but I think if it was totally banned (I really thought it was), that probably would be true.

    Ashleigh
     
  20. USMA2020

    USMA2020 Member

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2013
    Messages:
    194
    Likes Received:
    0
    So does anyone know if this happens a lot, especially at West Point. I guess I am just getting a little nervous here...

    Ashleigh
     

Share This Page