Discussion in 'Academy/Military News' started by jebdad, May 5, 2017.
21 year sentence.
Curious as to how this happened where no one else was around to hear or be available to help. The article says "as the two slept outside after training." Is everybody spread out that far for sleeping on a field problem?
Sorry. I have a hard time reaching your opinion that a 21 year sentence is s stiff sentence for raping anyone let alone a fellow cadet.
You know I was thinking the same thing. One scream for help and 100 people should have been there.
I'm gonna go upon the assumption there's a lot more information available to convict him on that we are not privy to.
Would "inconsistent" have been a word more palatable to you?
A quick google search indicates avg sentencing in the civilian world for a rapist is about 12 years with them serving half that time. This one hits close to home and if it had been my daughter who was the victim that night of Buckner training, a 21 year sentence wouldn't scratch the surface for me.
I am as guilty as many others for being a victim blamer or doubter when I have read about these types of situations in the past. This has been an eye opener for me.
The sad part is that it should not have to hit close to home for me or anyone else to be enraged. Rape is a terrible thing.
As a former prosecuting attorney I can say that charging decisions on criminal sexual conduct cases are extremely difficult to make. Typically CSC does not occur where there are an abundance of witnesses, and therefore they are more frequently a "he said she said" situation. A jury is left to assessing whether or not to believe the alleged victim. In my experience consent is overwhelmingly the most common defense. Victim credibility is huge, and the circumstances surrounding the event typically are used to impeach the victim. It's almost impossible to assess a case like this without hearing the evidence (both sides), and in this case we don't know much. Having said that, I must admit I was wondering how this could happen at Buckner without the victim being able to successfully call out for help, but I am certain those who decided the case would have been presented with the facts, and must have assessed that question. They know that this kid was being charged with rape, and wouldn't take that lightly.
This is, in any case, a terrible situation, and being a WP dad, I am very disappointed to read about it. Until today I hadn't heard a thing about it, which is actually a surprise in and of itself. I wonder if the victim is still at WP.
I "chatted" with a USMA cadet tonight...this cadet said a lot but this is the most relevant: "it is as bad as it sounds. He did it and they had all the evidence they needed to get him away from this school and punish him." I didn't push this cadet for information and the cadet didn't really go into much; I wonder if they've been told to be quiet about it. I could actually understand if they were.
It's just a very sad situation.
Given the few details published about the actual circumstances, it's natural to speculate, given the proximity, about cries for help.
One of the things I learned over the years dealing with rape and sexual assault cases as someone in the chain of command, as a CO/XO, as a senior staff officer on a flag staff with GCM (General Court Martial) authority, and as a jury member on a few courts martial, is that while we are familiar with a fight or flight response, there is also a well-documented flight, flight or freeze response. A victim goes silent and detached to survive when he or she feels flight is impossible and fight is unwinnable, plus other contributing factors such as social pressure. In date rape/known attacker situations, the victim is often deeply shocked by the thought that a trusted person is doing this. Plenty of reading material on this.
I always hated the he said/she said (or any gender combo, I have seen those too) situations, with no witnesses. As Judge B said, it often comes down to the credibility of the victim.
I personally hope I have the courage to scream, bite, kick, gouge anyone who attacks me, regardless of the cost to me - but I simply don't know what my reaction would be.
This case grieves me deeply but we all know that merely being a WP cadet does not make you immune to temptation. As the parent of a cadet I am happy to learn that the system can be trusted as this was not always the case in times past.
Agreed 100%. Last thing I will say is that, while the justice system isn't perfect, it is designed to protect the rights of the accused, giving benefit of the doubt to the defendant. Sometimes a person is wrongly convicted, but not usually, and more often the "jury mistakes" work in favor of the defendant. Frankly, that is how it should be. So, without hearing the evidence I still trust that the verdict was just.
Sentences in the military system are much tougher than in the state system. Federal sentencing in general is tougher than in the state systems. That is more a commentary on the state systems than anything though, as state budget issues have compromised sentencing over the years, and guidelines have been modified (at least in Michigan) to the extent that the state shifts costs to the local funding by lowering sentence ranges so that more criminals are given jail (funded locally) than prison (funded by the state). Federal courts don't have this situation, so sentencing is more as it should be.
Kids make horrible choices sometimes, and I can be sympathetic. But raping a young lady, under any circumstance, is horrendous, and inexcusable. If you trust the verdict, the defendant has earned the sentence, just as others have for the same offense before him. It is too bad that someone with such promise and opportunity would do such a thing, thus ruining his life; it is even worse though that the victim, who had every bit the same promise and opportunity, has had her life compromised. WP cadets are special, and tough. I hope she moves forward and does well.
Thank you Capt MJ for bringing up the topic of Rape Freeze. It is indeed a frequent dissociation response to rape and other traumas. Lots of studies and info out there. I can definitely see how a young woman could experience this response in the heightened stressful environment that is USMA field training.
Great insight, Brovol. I know you have a son at USMA. I have a daughter and soon to be son. I do know that there were some cadets in Buckner cadre both male and female who led in a way during this ordeal that would make you proud and give hope that this is an issue many see as important beyond mandatory SHARP training. This is a great opportunity to talk to our kids about how they can be part of the solution.
I do not think the sentence is too harsh. Rape is a bad enough offense. Rape of a fellow soldier is a double offense. It tears at the bond and trust that tie soldiers together.
When I saw this sentencing I couldn't help but think that 4 states in the United states have a maximum sentence for second degree murder is 20 years (or even less than 20 in some of them). Obviously what this person did is absolutely horrible, and I think a strong case could be made that it is worthy of even more punishment than he got, but what I don't think is that a strong case could be made that it is worthy of more punishment than intentionally ending another human being's life. Makes one question the justice system we live under.
I have to ask... have you served in the military? The punishments are often more "harsh" in the military and for good reason. Crimes against fellow service members can do much to destroy the military cohesion of a unit and can have a profound effect on its primary function- defending the country against all enemies, foreign and domestic.
In my time as a commander I court-martialed two soldiers for theft (they were barracks thieves), and both received sentences that were probably twice what they would have received in the civilian world. But the message got out- you don't violate the trust between your fellow soldiers.
Rape within a unit can be even worse. I remember the example of an infantry unit in Afghanistan some years ago where abuse by a junior NCO was overlooked, to the point where he was raping and sodomizing some of his soldiers. It tore the unit apart and ended up with at least one of the soldiers committing suicide.
No, the message needs to be sent out loud and clear. Do not violate the trust among soldiers. The last thing a female in a foxhole needs to worry about is her fellow service member.
Quite a few things in your post don't go against what I said.
I never said that the message "does not need to be sent out loud and clear" as you put it, I even said that a strong case could be made that he deserved more punishment (and your post made this case). Don't disagree with you on this front.
I said that I don't think a strong case could be made that what this guy did is deserving of more punishment than intentionally ending someone's life. You did briefly address this by saying military punishment should be more severe than civilian, but that was a fairly tangential part of your argument. While what you said may be true, I don't think any just justice system punishes intentionally taking someone's life less severely than what this guy did, and this is not to downplay what this guy did, but to realize the gravity of murdering someone. Do I believe this person's sentence of 21 years was justified? Yes, I do, you don't need to convince me of that. Do I feel that his actions were more aggregious than murder? No, I don't, which leads me to question the "justness" of a justice system that punishes the former harder than the latter.
To be clear: you are comparing two different justice systems.
Separate names with a comma.