HELP ... Cadet May Need Outside Assistance

Discussion in 'Service Academy Parents' started by Option.Period, Mar 19, 2019.

  1. Option.Period

    Option.Period Member

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    I have never stuck my nose into anything that my cadet has done for the last 4 years! My cadet has handled every aspect independently. But, a situation has arisen in which I feel compelled to attempt to assist and potentially bring some kind of third party perspective and potentially advocacy in support of my cadet.

    Does anyone know if there is some kind of outside ombudsman or even potential legal contact that a parent can look to communicate with in order to get some conduit of information for support of their cadet when it seems that normal channels cadet has taken don't seem to be getting anywhere. I don't want to make things worse, but this one goes beyond reasonable limits in my uneducated opinion, and need of consultation at a minimum is needed and potentially direct advocacy if things don't clear up in short order. Thank you for any information you are able to provide.
     
  2. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator 5-Year Member

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    Has your son spoken with a chaplain or a counselor about whatever it is? He might be able to get some guidance there. I don't think you should reveal it here, but it may be difficult for folks to give guidance without some idea of what's going on. Of course the alumni here might have some ideas that are beyond my ken.
     
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  3. billyb

    billyb 5-Year Member

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    There are always options. It depends on the situation. 99.99% of them should be sorted out by the cadet and chain of command, but there are other levers to pull but they will probably go nuclear if pulled and you won't know of the exact fallout (good, bad or other) until it's too late. One other word of caution on this.... you need to make sure you are getting the 100% truthful depiction of the situation from your cadet. Might they be too embarrassed to tell you something they did wrong to get them into the situation? Once nuclear it will all come out. Things at USXA are usually very logical.
     
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  4. justdoit19

    justdoit19 Member

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    Maybe you could private message someone here with experience? This has got to be so difficult. But I bet someone will be able to give guidance, in a PM.
     
  5. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator 5-Year Member

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    One nuclear option is your congressman. I would think hard before pulling that lever, and your DS should be the one to pull it.
     
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  6. Option.Period

    Option.Period Member

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    Thank you for the replies.

    I've felt helpless before and that was OK, because I knew that they were all growth moments from which my cadet would grow and that has been the case for most of them. I would like to leave this one alone too ... and, hope that I can; but it just seems too untenable to allow it to simply exist/pass without serious question.

    "Nuclear" would be too strong a step at this moment, I'm really looking for someone/some route to take to allow cadet to confidentially hash over the undisputable facts to try to see a bit further down the road as whether there are grounds/processes to take change the current path on which cadet is being ushered &, in the case there are grounds upon which cadet can alter the current path, to understand any potential fallout and whether it's worth it - and finally if cadet can & wants to stand ground, to be there in support to advocate that position in support of cadet (most likely in the latter case, I'd think an outside lawyer with experience in addressing issues at a SA would be necessary).

    This is one of these cases where, we don't know what we don't know, and just because some one says something doesn't mean they necessarily know either ... so again, looking for a source and after typing the above, the more I'm thinking its probably an outside attorney well versed in military law with whom we could consult.

    Thanks again
     
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  7. justdoit19

    justdoit19 Member

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    Good luck to you!
     
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  8. rdhdstpchld

    rdhdstpchld Member

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    what's the protocol as far as contacting his/her AOC? Or maybe contacting the chap yourself and asking if there's anything you can or should do from the outside - the chap can talk with your cadet and let you know if there's a need for you to step in. I have seen some pretty stupid stuff go down up on that hill...while it's elite, they're still human.
     
  9. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ 10-Year Member

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    Your cadet can talk confidentially with the chaplains. Unless he poses a danger to himself or others, they will not divulge. They are all trained counselors, and faith group doesn’t matter and isn’t part of the discussion unless the cadet wants it to be.

    You too can contact the chaplains. They talk to parents all the time. They will not talk about information protected by the Privacy Act, but they know how to get things done.

    That is one place to start.

    Speaking from my experience at active duty Navy commands and USNA, I believe there should be a JAG lawyer cadets can consult on legal issues - NOT the one assigned to the Superintendent or the Commandant as their staff advisors (think “prosecution”), but a JAG assigned as an advisor for cadets. It’s usually an O-3/4.

    If you google “former military JAG law practice Service Academy (fill in separation, misconduct, performance, or other key words),” it will bring up links of law firms specializing in military issues. Look for ones that may have former military JAGs and mention of Service Academy or ROTC issues.

    I am not asking for details, but be aware that in the military justice system, as well as administrative processes and hearings for conduct, performance or academic issues, the cadet may consult internal or external professional help but may or may not be able to involve them directly. Your cadet is an adult in the eyes of the Service, so he is subject to “the system.”

    I hope this all works out.
     
  10. kpmom2013

    kpmom2013 10-Year Member

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    I would advise your cadet to contact a lawyer immediately. I have been a practicing lawyer for forty years, and I am the mother of two service academy midshipmen. The only time that I have been unable to help a client is when they have waited too long to contact me. The longer your cadet waits, the fewer options he will have. If he waits until his back is against the wall, it will likely be too late. Consulting with a lawyer does not mean going nuclear yet. A good lawyer serves as a legal counselor to provide clients with perspective and options they may not be aware of. He will help your cadet position himself in the most advantageous way so that if things deteriorate fast, he will have a plan ready. I would not go to anyone who is a current JAG lawyer. Rather, look for a former JAG lawyer who has experience with service academies. Good luck.
     
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  11. usna1985

    usna1985 10-Year Member

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    Agree it's hard to know how to advise you without knowing the facts -- and understand why you don't want to state those here. So, I'll throw out a few possible scenarios and options. You can see whether any of them "stick" to your DS's situation.

    Cadet is being "forced" to service select a branch in which he isn't interested. First answer is, it happens -- needs of the military.:) It happens at every SA. Second answer is to work through the chain of command and/or talk to officers he's close to for advice.

    Cadet is being charged with a serious infraction that may influence his military career. Start with the on-base attorney as Hoops recommends and, depending on the seriousness, consulting an outside lawyer with specific experience as kpmom suggests. It may also be helpful to talk with a chaplain, just for someone to talk to.

    Cadet is charged with an honor offense. Same as above.

    Cadet is trying to decide whether to turn in someone else for an honor/conduct offense. If he's not implicated, I might start with the chaplains or an officer he is close to. If this would also implicate him, then same advice in above scenarios.

    Basically, it comes down to the following. Personal issues: chaplains. Career issues: officers at the SA. Legal/honor issues: on-site attorney and maybe off-site attorney if significantly serious. There are lots of resources at all SAs and in my experience SAs are not in the business of railroading innocent cadets and mids.

    There are some situations where outside legal advice can be very helpful. However, you need to consider this carefully. If there is true legal jeopardy (prison time, having to pay back your education), then by all means get all the help you can. In other situations, consider whether you will win the battle but lose the war (i.e., you get to stay but you're effectively tarnished forever).

    Wishing the best for you and your DS.
     
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  12. Old Navy BGO

    Old Navy BGO 5-Year Member

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    It is really hard to provide any concrete advice without knowing what the problem is, and I understand reluctance to disclose facts that might identify your cadet, but caution you that both of these are, or might be conceived as "nuclear" options. I'm a practicing attorney as well, and understand and agree with KPMom's comments, but I have also served in the Navy, and know how the chain of command perceives outside involvement of any type. ( I was squadron legal officer for a couple years, and things never ended well for those that lawyered up.).

    My first bit of advice is that Mom/Dad shouldn't get involved unless this is truly is critical. There is nothing is worse than Mom/Dad getting involved in a military matter or calling the CO/XO or chain of command. Dad/Mom should also be careful about providing advice unless they fully understand the military way of thinking. What may be sound advice in the real world may be damaging in a military environment.

    Next, is to ask the question '85 poses, ie. is this a "true legal jeopardy" issue that could have long term consequences . If this is a true legal jeopardy, by all means you have to do everything you can do to defend yourself. However, you should keep in mind that doing so can end a career before it even starts. If you feel its necessary to talk with an attorney, I would recommend doing it under the radar screen if possible, without formally asserting a right to counsel, ie. visiting the on base JAG during a free period, or even meeting an outside attorney during weekend liberty. (I would expect that outside counsel that deal with Cadets/Midshipmen are pretty flexible with their meetings).

    I recognize the parental perspective, and desire to help our kids. If you are going to provide advice, you may want to consider talking to an attorney yourself. If you do, choice of attorney is critical ... you won't have access to active JAG, but there are attorneys outside most bases that specialize in dealing with military issues, and would expect that there are attorneys outside of the Service Academies that have experience dealing with Service Academy issues . Some are going to be good, some not so good.... I could write a novel on the art of selecting good attorneys (and it would be heavily biased in favor of those that practice with my philosophy). However, if you do talk to an att0rney , make absolutely sure you have the full, truthful story -- giving an attorney only half the story will result in bad advice.

    Good luck.
     
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