Virginia Military Sexual Assault Attorney

Are you in the military and being investigated for a sexual assault under the UCMJ?

You need prompt professional representation.

If you aren’t following the news then you aren’t aware of the political and leadership pressures on commands to prosecute and convict those suspected and accused – not necessarily guilty – of sexual assault. At least one prosecutor appears to realize there are pressures.

Recently, Mark Godsey, Director, Ohio Chapter, The Innocence Project, commented that:

[T]the risk of wrongful conviction is the highest when there’s public outcry. Most of the exonerations and wrongful convictions have occurred in rape cases.

Pending court-martial for a charges brought under Article 120, UCMJ.

You need an experienced military defense lawyer

Politicians, leaders, others don’t care what happens to you so you need someone on your side to speak for you and to protect your interests. No one in authority or with influence over these cases cares for the falsely accused, and then wrongfully convicted. To them --

It’s worth the risk.

Like the military, college males are being targeted for “extreme pressure” on sexual assaults. A principle long treasured in common law – and thus in American law – is that it is better that nine guilty persons go free, lest an innocent person is convicted. William Blackstone wrote that it is "better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer." (Commentaries on the Laws of England, 1765.) The principle is under attack for those – almost always male - in the military (and colleges) accused of sexual assault under the UCMJ.

“letting someone guilty of a serious crime go unpunished would be more harmful than finding an innocent person guilty. It’s obviously one of the big side effects, if it could result in an innocent person being found guilty,” she said. “But I think sexual assault is such a big issue that it’s worth the risk.” According to biased low risk.”

This attitude may be found in those who want a different military justice system. Justice William O. Douglas, a liberal icon for much of the 20th Century, stated: "It is better, so the Fourth Amendment teaches, that the guilty sometimes go free than that citizens be subject to easy arrest." Henry v. United States, 361 U.S. 98, 104 (1959). And, Justice Harlan once wrote: "I view the requirement of proof beyond a reasonable doubt in a criminal case as bottomed on a fundamental value determination of our society that it is far worse to convict an innocent man than to let a guilty man go free." In re Winship, 397 U.S. 358 (1970)(Harlan, J. concurring).

What they ignore, or are willing to ignore is that:

"Terrible as it is for a victim to see a rapist escape punishment, it is far, far worse for an innocent person to be convicted of a sex crime." Until Proven Innocent: Political Correctness and the Shameful Injustices of the Duke Lacrosse Rape Case, S. Taylor, K.C. Johnson (2007).

(Excerpt from Barbaric: It is 'worth the risk' to punish innocent college men in order to nab more sex offenders , COWA, 9 May 2012.

False accusations do hurt.

  • False accusations hurt the man falsely accused.

  • False accusations hurt the wife or partner of the man falsely accused. People who don't care don't seem to think of this.

  • False accusations hurt the children of the man falsely accused.

  • False accusations hurt morale and good order and discipline.

  • False accusations hurt women and men who have been sexually assaulted.

“After a while, the boy who cried wolf wasn’t believed, and the women who cry rape may likewise not be believed, especially with the accusations of rape at Duke University and the University of Virginia fresh in people’s minds,”

George Washington University law professor John Banzhaf wrote in a USA Today op-ed piece.

False accusations are usually made for secondary gain.

At COWA, they report on “Lambs to the Slaughter: The Hofstra False Rape Case,” about a civilian college case. You should not forget the Duke University lacrosse case. Some of the same or similar facts and acts can be witnessed in some military cases. Here is my comparison.

  • Their accuser was automatically believed over the complaining witness.

This is the mantra followed by military investigators, used as a reason not to challenge the report of crime or fully investigate. I have such a case right now.

This is also the mantra handed out at command and SAPR training to military personnel.

  • The canard that one drink means no consent.

Again something postulated at training, and for many believed. This is so even though DoD itself put out a document in 2006 refuting this mantra.

How does this affect your trial – here is what several members in one of my cases had to say. One talked about training several months prior. She remembered, being told, “that if alcohol is involved then consent is – there is no way consent can be given. (R. at 249.) A second member said that he believed the one-drink rule was correct because he’d been told that by his commanding officer. When asked by the judge if the commanding officer was wrong, would he accept the law and medical science. The member said “no” because it was a matter of integrity (basically he wouldn’t believe his commanding officer was mistaken).

The judge had to tell this panel, “It is wrong to make a blanket statement that a person can never consent to a sexual act while intoxicated. . . . That’s not the law. It is not consistent with medical science.” (R. at 310.)

  • They were arrested and suffered all manner of indignity -- they were "treated like animals" in jail.

Fortunately the military has not yet come to this. But there are many who want and advocate for it to be this way. You will be isolated, cut-off, and you will soon learn who your friends are when needed.

Even if you are ultimately proven to be not guilty, or are lucky enough to have a good criminal investigation, it is quite possible you will still suffer adverse career consequences, possibly ending in administrative separation, a reduced retirement grade, or relief for cause. This is specifically what Congress wants. In a recent change, you will automatically get a dishonorable discharge or dismissal, even for the most minor of sexual “contacts.”

The news media skewered them.

You need professional legal representation as soon as possible to help begin to mitigate any damage. In today’s military being accused of a sexual assault is enough for a series of domino’s to fall in potentially ending your career, and effectively any real life. In addition to a court-martial, possible conviction, confinement, and sex offender registration, there are many adverse career impacts that must be considered.

Not all sexual assault cases are clean-cut slam dunks for either side. There are often no easy answers. We know and have the years of experience, contested trials, and successful outcomes underlying effective investigation, case preparation, and defending accusations of sexual assault under the UCMJ.

Contact us for an initial free consultation, an affordable case evaluation (second opinion), or full representation from investigation to trial.

One writer on the UCMJ and military sexual assault has suggested the military is a petri dish - a ground for experiment. "The military has consistently operated as somewhat of a petri dish for societal reform." Andrea Kurstein, Sexual Assault and the Military Petri Dish. Issue 74 (3rd Quarter), National Defense University (NDU) Press in July 2014.

One, that is the number of people accused in your case.

You are not an experiment - you are an accused at court-martial under the UCMJ with rights and the need for prompt professional military defense counsel representation.