Back in August, in this post, I noted that the Army held an Article 32 preliminary hearing in a case involving allegations that now-retired Major General James J. Grazioplene committed rape on six occasions while on active duty in 1983-1989.

Those allegations were referred for trial and the Washington Post recently reported here that:

Retired Maj. Gen. James J. Grazioplene appeared Tuesday at Fort Belvoir, Va., for his first hearing following an Army general’s decision last month to send the case to a court-martial. Grazioplene, 68, is accused of repeatedly raping a young girl between 1983 and 1989.

The allegations have put the Army in highly unusual territory. The pending trial will mark one of only a few cases since World War II in which a general officer has been prosecuted in open court.

Grazioplene was a major serving at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas when the alleged rapes began, according to court documents. He has not entered a plea.

Continuing court-martial jurisdiction over people who retire from a regular component of the armed forces – which isn’t retirement in the ordinary meaning of the term, but rather is merely a change in military status – has been a hot topic since the NMCCA’s opinion in United States v. Dinger, 76 M.J. 552, No. 201600108 (N.M. Ct. Crim. App. Mar. 28, 2017) (discussed here).

The Grazioplene case also raises issues of the statute of limitations and due process for an accused brought to trial decades after an alleged offense. CAAF is considering similar concerns in the interlocutory Air Force case of United States v. Mangahas, No. 17-0434/AF (CAAFlog case page).

26 Responses to “The Army takes a retired general officer to court-martial”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Grazioplene sat in court Tuesday in a dark suit, close-cropped white hair and glasses, and occasionally took notes. He rolled a small briefcase on wheels out of the courthouse after the proceedings ended for the day. Brookhart said that it has been determined that he will not be wearing a uniform for the trial.

     
    Anyone know why ne’s not being required to wear a uniform?

  2. former af_dc says:

    I am still very skeptical that the court has jurisdiction over any of the pre-1986 charges. 

  3. Charlie Gittins says:

    They charged rape in a transparent effort to avoid the statute of limitations.  It is blatantly offensive to manipulate charges to avoid the SOL in my opinion.  But that is where we are in these #metoo times. 

  4. DC says:

    Anonymous – he was not required to wear a uniform because he hasn’t been called back to active duty.  He’s being tried in his retired status.  He doesn’t own ASUs.  Per AR 670-1, it appears that it is a retiree’s choice whether to wear a military uniform for certain ceremonial events.  I don’t think the government can require him to purchase a uniform he doesn’t own and force him to wear it (at least, as long as he’s in retired status).

  5. Anonymous says:

    Thanks, DC.  I think I made the invalid assumption that he had been recalled to active duty.

  6. Less Concerned says:

    Cue string of sanctimonious comments …

  7. sanctimonious says:

    Does anyone know what the requirements are for the rank of the jury?  Is a retired accused presumed to be the rank they were when they retired from active duty?  Could we have a panel of retirees?

  8. Scott says:

     

    sanctimonious says:
    December 21, 2017 at 4:12 PM  

    Does anyone know what the requirements are for the rank of the jury?  Is a retired accused presumed to be the rank they were when they retired from active duty?  

    Yes, a retired accused retains their active duty rank for panel selection purposes. 
     

    Could we have a panel of retirees?

     
    Retired generals could be recalled for the purpose of serving on a panel, the same as they could be recalled for any other military purpose.  Extremely unlikely, however.  The logistics of recalling multiple retired GOs would be extremely challenging.  There’s plenty of AD GOs who can serve on the panel.  
     
    On an additional practical note, most Army panel deliberation rooms also limited bathroom access.  Oftentimes, the panel has to cease deliberating, and have the judge recall the court to place them on a recess, every time one needs a comfort break.  Given the average age of retired GOs, most of whom statistically would be male, the frequency of required breaks would grind the wheels of justice to a halt. 
     
     

  9. Nathan Freeburg says:

    I think they had to recall retirees for the CSM McKinney court-martial. In this case if it were to be a panel they might have to round up 8 LTGs? (Due to DoR). Might not be that simple to do for the active component. It was hard enough for Sinclair. 

  10. Bill Cassara says:

    In the SMA McKinney case, they pulled from the other services as I recall.

  11. stewie says:

    Good catch on the DOR thing…I can’t imagine there are any active duty 2 stars that have date of rank on him, so it’s going to be either all 3 stars or they in fact will have to recall some 2 stars with a earlier date of rank.  Fun!
     
    Interesting that they didn’t recall him. I’ve done two folks who we brought back on active duty, we didn’t think to try them in their reserve status. I’m also surprised to hear that a retired 2 Star General does not have a set of “Blues” (No functional difference really between the ASUs and the old Blue Dress Uniform other than suspenders you can’t see).

  12. Nathan Freeburg says:

    Even other services will be tough. He’s not young re: blues. But I can think of tactical reasons too. 
    I got a full acquittal once on an involuntary recall to active duty with one month remaining on his IRR commitment. Never understood why it was so important to the gov. 

  13. Charlie Gittins says:

    I was McKinney’s civilian counsel.  He was administratively removed as SMA prior to trial. They had a tough time finding E-9s with a DOR earlier than Gene’s DOR, but they coughed up enough that after we busted quorum a couple of times we had a panel of all Army officers and CSMs.  He was on active duty and no retirees sat on the panel.  The reduction in rank to E-8 to which he was sentenced could not be effected because there was a law in place that if you served as the SMA, CMC Navy, Coast Guard, SGM USMC or CMSgt USAF, you were entitled to retire in that grade and pay regardless or later reduction.  After McKinney, they changed the law.  We on the defense were the only ones apparently aware of the law so we advocated for reduction in grade as a sentence.  Game, set, match.  But I’d hate to try that case today in the world of witchcraft that has been created around sexual misconduct in the military.    

  14. Michael Lowrey says:

    Putting together a panel from active-duty Army folks wouldn’t be easy — as of October 31, 2017, the Army only had 11 active-duty generals and 47 active-duty lieutenant generals. Putting 8 LTGs on a panel would require over a sixth of all current Army LTGs. The only thing that helps is Grazioplene’s age (68) — he’s just old enough that some of the current senior Army brass may not have heard of him/served with or under him. If the accused were a couple of years younger, you’d still have the same DOR problem keeping current MGs off the panel but he’d be more of a contemporary of the current crop of O-9s and O-10s.

  15. Concerned Defender says:

    The logistics are going to be a nightmare for the government.  Oh, and good luck getting a panel seated.  Have fun with that.
    I wonder just how many 3 stars or retirees are inclined to want to help set the #metoo witchcraft agenda and precedent that a 3 decade old allegation may pull THEM off THEIR retirements and face absurd prosecutions…  My guess is zero.
    I’m inclined to believe the SOL for these “sex offense” cases really needs to be shortened given the significant nonsense we are seeing in the press.  Absent a child sex assault situation, there is zero good reason for an adult to wait more than a couple years to report a sex assault, particularly in light of the fact that the evidence (especially exculpatory evidence) is effervescent in nature.  I’d say the SOL should be about 1 year.  If you can’t report it in a year, it obviously wasn’t that important.

  16. Concerned Defender says:

    Darn auto correct.  *evanescent (not effervescent)
     

  17. Kevin Reinholz says:

    Concerned Defender says:
    December 22, 2017 at 1:13 PM
    The logistics are going to be a nightmare for the government.  Oh, and good luck getting a panel seated.  Have fun with that. I wonder just how many 3 stars or retirees are inclined to want to help set the #metoo witchcraft agenda and precedent that a 3 decade old allegation may pull THEM off THEIR retirements and face absurd prosecutions…  My guess is zero. I’m inclined to believe the SOL for these “sex offense” cases really needs to be shortened given the significant nonsense we are seeing in the press.  Absent a child sex assault situation, there is zero good reason for an adult to wait more than a couple years to report a sex assault, particularly in light of the fact that the evidence (especially exculpatory evidence) is effervescent in nature.  I’d say the SOL should be about 1 year.  If you can’t report it in a year, it obviously wasn’t that important.

    I don’t think it’s fair to say that if a sexual assault victim doesn’t report within a year, the sexual assault wasn’t that important to him/her. We’re talking one of the most serious violations of self a person can experience. The psychological damage of being raped is enormous. Add to that uneven power dynamics, and I can think of a few good reasons why a victim might wait. The same is quite often true of domestic violence victims. When someone takes away your humanity, it takes time to get it back, if you ever fully do.
     
    That having been said, I also recognize that ultimately in the military justice or any criminal justice arena, the constitutional rights of the accused must be the primary concern. Therefore, there are very real practical issues as you point out re preservation of evidence, fading witness recollections, etc. So bringing criminal charges on a 10-year old rape allegation, for example, becomes a lot more difficult to prove beyond a reasonable doubt than say bringing criminal charges following an immediate report with SAFE showing physical evidence of forced/nonconsensual sex. (Although there are plenty of ways for an accused to sexually assault someone without a SAFE necessarily showing the type of physical evidence we might stereotypically expect of a forcible rape against a kicking and screaming victim. I think those presumptions are starting to change, however).
     
    Ultimately, I’m sympathetic toward victims who delay reporting or who for a myriad of reasons don’t report at all. There are plenty of victims of violence, to include sexual violence, who do not report simply because they don’t want to relive the horror, be placed in the spotlight, and have their entire life scrutinized. It’s humiliating and re-victimizing.
     
    Yet on the other hand we have the constitutional rights of the accused, which we must protect and I would not advocate for anything else. This may lead to cases where the best we can do is provide the best possible victim support whilst forgoing a criminal prosecution due to age of the allegations/disappearance of evidence, etc.
     
    I guess what I’m saying is I agree in principle with a lot of what you stated, that this is going to be an absolute logistical nightmare, as are most “delayed reporting” sexual assault prosecutions, but I am loathe to second-guess why a victim delayed reporting especially having prosecuted (and defended) these types of cases and knowing personally victims who chose not to report at all. Would I prefer that every victim come forward immediately after the assault? Yes. But do I know of cases where the victim did not, and could not, bring herself to face all that scrutiny and let the perp get away scot free with what he did? Yes, I do.
     
    I would also be careful about knocking the #MeToo movement. There are some very real, legitimate power dynamic issues where men in positions of power abused that power and female victims were too afraid to come forward. I believe there is societal value in the solidarity and attempted de-stigmatizing of coming forward, even decades after the fact. I don’t mean to soap box, but most of us men would be appalled, disgusted, and possibly facing criminal charges for what we did to the perp if we knew a #MeToo victim was our wife, mother, grandmother, daughter, sister, etc. You can’t have female friends who trust you enough to talk about these things without hearing numerous instances of inappropriate sexual behavior by men, especially men in positions of power. I’m not saying these should all result in courts-martial, but I think we need to have a lot more respect for victims of crimes, to include sexual crimes. I’m sorry if that ruffles some feathers the wrong way, but the status quo is unacceptable. We need to treat each other with dignity and respect.

  18. Anonymous says:

    As someone who was falsely accused, went to a court martial on that accusation, and acquitted of the Art 120 charge, I can honestly say no one cares about the accused.  The military justice system gets around the rights of the accused will silly things like MRE 412, watered down Art 32 hearings, etc.  Congress wants their pound of flesh, Commanders want their promotions and careers intact.  The sacrificial lamb in this is the accused and rights.  They’re complaining witnesses on the other side of the court room, not victims, if the accused pleads not guilty.  To be a victim would have to be proven that such offense took place beyond a reasonable doubt.  
    For those who have admitted to their wrong doing via the #MeToo movement, they’re terrible and deserve whatever possible criminal and/or civil lawsuits that will be coming their way in the future.  For those women who refuse to go on the record with their allegations, then odds are they aren’t worth the ink they would be written with.  Archie Litche accuser cost him two stars in retirement pay and refused to be deposed.  Not shocking one bit.  
    I just got done reading an article of a reporter, and Army Reservist, who had an affair with Matt Laurer 15-years ago.  The ironic, yet not surprising, is she had no problem accusing Lauer of being a terrible person, a powerful person who had “control” of her, and should be prevented from doing this to other women.  But no where did she claim responsibility, minus the blurb of them having consensual sex, for having an adulterous affair.  Especially as being a Reservist.  
    This movement is a good thing to get terrible people caught for terrible crimes they’ve committed and possibly stop them from committing more.  The unfortunate byproduct of this movement will be the societal split of men and women in the work and social environment.  It was already been manifested in the military since 2012.  Now it’ll be mainstream in civilian society.

  19. stewie says:

    And yet Anonymous, you had a defense counsel supplied by the government that I’m assuming was at least competent, and cared, and got a kudos from his/her leadership for the acquittal. I know I did when I got an acquittal in a rape case. And the conviction rate is not any higher since the changes so that means other folks are being fought hard for, and acquittals are gained.
     
    Are you suggesting some past golden age where women and men worked side by side as equals with no sexism issues?
    When was the is golden age? Where was it?
     
    I’m not going to suggest that the changes made to the system by Congress are almost exclusively anti-accused. They are, and they have made what I thought was about as fair and balanced a system as you could get into a system that has some real issues…but to say no one cares? And that the #MeToo movement is going to somehow split men and women as to suggest unity prior?
     
    A bit too far.

  20. J.M. says:

    Stewie, you’re right, but you’re wrong also. When you’re accused, it does seem like nobody cares. The only person from my unit that cared enough to attend my Art 32 was the IO. I had to drive myself across Germany to my arraignment. The counselor from behavioral health retrieved her panic button and held it between us the one time I went to them for help. My BN commander spoke to me twice in a year about the issue. The first time he said “I don’t think you did it, but it’s a rape accusation, it has to go to trial”. The 2nd time all he did was ask how I was doing, then suggested that going to the gym might help me feel better. In a year and a half I had one command visit (from two fellow SFC), who were sent by the CSM. “CSM told us to come see if you killed yourself.” Admitted drug dealers in my unit were treated with more dignity and respect than I was before my art 32 happened. After the charges were dropped I was harassed by my company commander, on a daily basis, for months before the unit deactivated. I was publicly called a rapist and predator and told ‘Prove to me that you haven’t been doing this for years’ when he was interrogating me for details to write on the commander recommendation regarding my security clearance reinstatement. My BN commander refused to speak to me about the issue. My acting CSM at the time tried to reign in the company commander, without luck. I was invited to a hail and farewell, for my farewell, then after arriving at the restaurant, told in front of about a dozen NCOs and Officers (and spouses) to leave because rapists don’t get plaques. 
    At another unit I watched a 1SG say “Where is Giles? Where’s my rapist?” in a Troop formation, in regards to an accused Soldier. That same Soldier was supposed to have a duffel bag with a few personal items and uniforms stored in the supply cage. When his conviction was overturned, he got back a duffel bag full of trash. Not one fuck given by the command that a Soldiers personal property was stolen from a locked supply cage. ‘Fuck him, he’s a rapist’ was the response when I called the unit and informed them that he was released, on his way back to base and needed quarters, id card and a meal card because all he had was an expired drivers license. 
    There is zero push for leadership to fulfill basic leadership responsibilities and take care of Soldiers that are accused. We are ignored, shunned and isolated, with the exception of our TDS or civ lawyer. It’s an Army wide problem and lack of leadership.

  21. Concerned Defender says:

    @ JM and Anonymous – it’s stories like yours that compel me with drive to help the accused.  The treatment of service members upon accusation is almost universally reprehensible.  Honestly I’ve seen Soldiers treated worse than our enemies.   Rights blatantly violated.  Trial Counsel who seem to take the accusations like personal affronts against them.  I’ve seen many SJAs outright violate service members rights – property,  privacy,  dignity, respect, privileged information, you name it.   Foul language and name calling toward accused.  Humiliating treatment.  And Military Judges who don’t care or barely care.  Certainly senior officers who don’t care.   I’ve seen an alarming number of lawyers on the TC and SJA side who should lose their law licenses from the way they behave.  Hiding evidence.  Over-charging to compel a plea deal.  And other violations of rules and decorum.  
    I’ll bluntly say that my observations in my career on both sides caused me to seriously evaluate having the UCMJ hooks in me and I opted to get out.  No way was I going to let this system have any jurisdiction over me and my life, given the rampant abuses I observed and watched my clients and other accused go through.  It’s sickening at times.  
    In the instant case, to my surprise, IIRC Lanny Acosta actually “no billed” this Article 32.  Meaning I think he found that there was NOT probable cause to go forward.  Can anyone else confirm this?  
    And yet, here we are.  CM for a retired GO.  Go figure.  Politics at its worst. 

  22. Anonymous says:

    stewie,
    Let me rephrase. My legal team cared for me a lot. They were happy I was a client who wasn’t lying to them, making statements, and creating more charges for the Gov to prefer more charges. However no one else cared about me or my wife. I was initially accused 1.5 years after I last had a sexual relationship with my accuser. We were friends and co workers. I was deployed when she accused me. So I was brought home ASAP, fired from my job as a MSgt, sent to a worthless office job from March 2016 to June 2017 when I separated. My only interaction with my commander was when he met me at the airport when I came home, when he told me two months later he was suspending my flight pay and security clearance, preferring of charges, and referral of charges. That was 15-months I lived in a hole that seemed endless. I can’t talk to anyone minus my wife and legal team, because that could be a possible statement, correct?
     
    After my court martial the STC came up to me and told me that I was a good guy and that she didn’t believe the charges. The MJ for my GCM, according to multiple USAF JAG’s and some Civ lawyers, was terrible and a “government hack.” Thankfully with a panel, I didn’t personally care what she thought about me. At the end of the day, I think JAG’s need to remember this, is the accused drives the bus. And the advice of the lawyers is just that, advice, which is merely based of a very educated guess. But at the end of the day it’s just a guess. And if it doesn’t work, the accused is the one in confinement, a registered sex offender (which is a punishment despite how much lawyers and judges disagree), and life is crushed.  All because of a false accusation. Even after my aquittal my accuser still received an expedited transfer to another base because the USAF regultuon states one can apply for one for an allegation, not a conviction.
     
    I respect the JAG corps, I truly do. However, after what I went through first hand, reading this blog for the past 1.5 years, reading the countless service appellate court opinions, CAAF opinions, DuBay hearings, I think ethics needs to harshly reiterated to the JAG Corps. This resonates with me when I read about Senior Chief Barry’s trial, alleged UCI with the Navy TJAG, a DuBay gearing with the CA at the time giving testimony and previous sworn statements about what Admiral Crawford and his predescor advised the CA to do because of potential political pressure and their careerism, and I see a few on here circle the wagons on the legimacy if a JAG can cause UCI and how filing a complaint with his state bar won’t do anything because it a military only issue.
     
     

  23. Anonymius says:

    sorry for the spelling errors, typing on a phone is not my strong skill.

  24. k fischer says:

    J.M. and Anonymous, 
     
    I am sorry to hear your troubles waiting for the specious charges to either be dismissed or that you be acquitted.  But, hey, at least your detailed defense counsel probably got a kudos from his or her boss at TDS, amiright?
     
    But, Anonymous, I am a lawyer who practices certain military cases, and I can tell you that the past three years have caused me to lose quite a bit of trust in the JAG Corps regarding military justice mattesr.  Whether it be an SVP who is a mini-Nifong, or a Military Judge who is the chief of a circuit who isn’t outraged about a certain Court-martial he presided over in front of said SVP, or the TJAG’s of two services who secretly convey their cowardice to Convening Authorities wanting to dismiss charges because of Claire McCaskill, it appears to have rotten apples from the lowest part of the barrel to the very top. 
     
    I’ve also seen some good JAGs make some tough calls favoring the Accused’s rights and be somewhat outspoken only to get shafted.  But, there are lot of JAGs who are like the Weinstein females who keep silent.  They know what’s going on.  They just don’t have the courage to say it or they are in denial and deflect by talking about getting kudos from the boss.  What they lack is an awareness or concern about how difficult it is to be falsely accused of a sex crime, then watch absolutely nothing happen to your false accuser and have to listen to everyone talk about how “the system worked” after the acquittal or dismissal.  Meanwhile, your career has been on hold for a year, you might have a FAP report against you that met criteria, and your NCOER or OER is crap.  But, hey man!  The system worked, i.e. the Old Man and the SJA can tell a couple of Senators that the panel acquitted the Accused, double jeopardy attached, and their hands are tied. 
     
    I’ve invited two of my falsely accused clients to Thanksgiving dinner when they couldn’t go home to be with family.  I get to know them.  How they didn’t stick a gun in their mouth after the organization they have dedicated their lives to turns their back on them because of a bs charge amazes me.  But hearing the panel president say, “This Court-martial finds you not guilty” is incredible for a civilian defense attorney, who is really the only winner in those bs cases.

  25. Anonymous says:

    “It’s called a court of law, not a court of truth.”
    My SDC told me that right before we started my trial last January, it still resonates me to this day.  My attorneys did get kudos for my Art 120 acquittal at my court martial, because they earned it.  However, I got a blunt lesson on “government hacks” in the USAF JAG corps.  Those are the folks, who in my limited opinion and scope, should probably be weeded out of the JAG crops.  I was shocked that a USAF JAG could be on a prosecution only track almost their entire career.  
    I read on here all the time that “our system is fair.”  It’s designed to be, but with prosecution friendly MRE’s such as 412, watered down “paper hearings” as the Art 32 now, and the fact you can be sentenced to death with a unanimous panel of less than 12 members is insane.  
    I dedicated my life to an organization for 16 years, 3 months, and 9 days who turned its back on me and left my family in shambles.  Therefore I don’t think said organization deserves the right to prosecute sexual based crimes until they can prove the UCI and fear from Congress doesn’t run rampant throughout all of the branches.  The JAG’s are solely there to protect their Commanders and CA’s and said Commanders and CA’s only care about their careers, nothing else.  They never cared about me or J.M.  We were just the replaceable cog in the machine.
    On a sad but happier note one day that could’ve been dark one day I came home from “work” during my whole investigation.  It was the day OSI decided they wanted to come to my house off base and harass my wife into talking to them at our home (which she promptly declined).  Later that day they forced me to be escorted to their office, after not notifying my counsel though they had notice of representation, and proceeded to try to make a statement (didn’t) then finger printed me, swabbed my mouth for DNA, and took my mugshot.  Then, at the last second, took my cell phone with a warrant that I didn’t see for exactly a year later.
    I can’t describe to you how dehumanized I felt.  I’ve been to basic training, been through SERE school, and this was a way worse feeling.  I had no idea what was going on until I saw a sheet in the interview room that said I was being investigated for “Art 120 Rape.”  I had never been in trouble in my entire career minus a Letter of Counseling I received as a new Airman 14-years ago.  I had made E-7 in the USAF in 11-years, which was insanely fast and was looking at having a great shot at making E-8 within 14-years.  That all was crashing down.
    After I was done at OSI I came home, walked into my room, and stuck a .45 in my mouth.  I wanted all the pain to go away.  I had already been dealing this for months, and little did I know I was going to have another eight months to go before the trial.  I did think about my family, my wife, you know, the important stuff.  But something inside me told me that if I didn’t pull the trigger, things would work out.  Not the way I expected it, but they would work out and I’d be happier.
    Today I work for a famous fruit company in California, starting my Masters next year, and enjoying being out of the USAF.  What else worked out is that I’ve helped a lot of people along the way who were falsely accused with the emotional side of it.  I’ve shared my story and people have found hope, and sometimes hope is all you need.  I would like to thank everyone that contributes to this blog.  I’ve been reading it since March 2016 and actually pulled CAAF and service court opinions, and sent my lawyers, that helped get an acquittal for an Art 93 charge I faced as well.  I couldn’t have done it without reading your comments and thoughts.  Thank all of you for what you do, no matter what side of the court room you’re on.

  26. Kevin Reinholz says:

    Anonymous,
    I am truly sorry for the horrific experience you suffered. No one should have to go through even a fraction of what you endured. I am very glad that you kept faith and held on and that your defense counsel were able to achieve some modicum of justice for you (a court-martial acquittal).
    I should probably copy and paste Dwight Sullivan’s standard disclaimer here:  Any opinions stated are purely my own and do not reflect the official position of the government or any subdivision thereof. I am an active duty judge advocate and currently serving as an SJA. I’m readily findable on the Air Force Global.
    I took my work as an ADC extremely seriously, and got personally involved in all of my cases. In spite of the sometimes horrific crimes my clients were accused of, they all eventually “grew on me”–some took longer than others. But whether I believed the client to be guilty or innocent, it didn’t effect how hard I fought for him/her, nor should it have. They all had redeeming qualities as human beings, and I genuinely mean that. My acquittals remain to this day my proudest moments in my Air Force career, so please do not mistake me for just another “government hack.” I am a very firm believer in the Constitution and in the rights of an accused.
    The point I was trying, probably ineloquently, to make, is that we shouldn’t knock the #MeToo movement nor should we be so quick to dismiss sexual assault (or any) allegations merely based on a delay in reporting by the victim. I’m sure we could all find multiple, completely inconsistent statistics (“there are only lies, damn lies, and statistics”) to back whatever position each of us decided to take, but my personal belief is that the number of false rape allegations is quite low. Ambiguous situations in which alcohol is involved and consent/capacity to consent is less clear, more common but still low. Poor SAPR/SHARP training that equates “bad behaviors” or “drinking culture” with “rape culture” or deliberately predatory behavior, a definite problem. But for the vast majority of allegations, the victim is telling the truth, and if the prosecutor has good cause to believe the victim is not telling the truth, then s/he has an obligation to call that out and to seek justice, not convictions. Again, my personal belief is that this is a rare case, and I’ve worked with phenomenal, very honorable TCs and STCs who would not hesitate to do the right thing, even if it cost them personally. I’ve also encountered a few who I would not assign to supervise a rock, the political, sleazy types who probably believe “anyone can convict the guilty–it takes a real lawyer to convict the innocent” as though such deliberately unethical conduct is somehow some kind of personal achievement. Thankfully, encounters with such types have been few and far between, although even one is too many.
    I’ve cross-examined judge advocates on the witness stand and made enemies doing so. It’s not fun work but in those rare cases where a judge advocate becomes a witness, my philosophy was to treat him/her just like any other witness, to include impeaching his/her credibility. Protecting our own never factored into the equation.
    I guess my point is, assuming I even have a point, that your experience was truly reprehensible as were the other anecdotes told on this thread about accused being treated as sub-human. That is shameful and runs contrary to our core values. That having been said, victims of crimes are deserving of our sympathy, or better still, empathy, and thorough investigation and prosecution where warranted and an honest and detailed explanation when a determination is made that prosecution is not appropriate. Sometimes fading recollections and loss of evidence due to the passage of time render a case inappropriate for prosecution. That doesn’t mean the victim is a “liar” or “just seeking attention” or anything of the sort. Coming forward is a terrifying and extremely courageous thing, and the scorn that is sometimes heaped on victims, especially sexual assault victims, and genuine assumptions that the victim is lying or embarrassed or experiencing “morning after regret” is disgusting. So perhaps that’s my point:  we practitioners need to treat both victims and accused with more dignity and respect than either are currently receiving, and ensure that no case is pre-judged until the verdict is read out in open court, but rather that neither victim nor accused is forgotten, subjected to unnecessary indignities, nor made to feel ostracized or publicly shamed.
    The other thing about the #MeToo movement is that it is not just about sexual assault:  sexual harassment is a huge problem, both in the military and in pretty much every other workplace. Recently I’ve been more involved professionally in dealing with investigation and response to sexual harassment allegations, and I can say, I’ve seen real problems. Deep, cultural problems where some people (ordinarily men) think it’s OK to make all sorts of inappropriate comments to and about women. These are generally not sexual assault courts-martial, although they could lead to NJP for Art 93, but they very quickly degrade unit cohesiveness and morale. Pressuring subordinates for dates or sexual favors is not OK. Treating the work center like a “locker room” and making degrading, objectifying comments about women, regardless of whether a woman is present, is not normal and is not OK. “Boys will be boys” is not an acceptable response to the problem. I’ll get off that soap box because this is a military justice forum and we’re talking about sexual assault, not sexual harassment, but I do believe it is important to change a culture that has marginalized and objectified women, branded young men with many sexual partners as “studs” but women as “sluts” (it should be the same standard for both genders–it’s either par for the course or it’s not something to be proud of). That same culture can and does give rise to “rape culture” and to stereotypes such as “morning after regret.” Want a healthy, integrated work environment? Treat each other with dignity and respect, regardless of gender. And don’t look at female co-workers and subordinates as potential sexual partners to brag to male co-workers about “conquering.” Treat people like people, not objects of sexual gratification. That’s all. I don’t think it’s that difficult.
    Again, I’m truly sorry for what you experienced. No one should have had to go through that. But in spite of the very public, high-profile cases we’ve seen recently, I do believe that the vast majority of judge advocates take their oaths and their ethical rules very seriously and strive to do the right thing. We’re not perfect, and a handful will always give the rest a bad name, just like the tiny amount of criminals give the rest a bad name, but most of us are trying our best to seek justice, not convictions, and agonize over each and every case regardless of which side (prosecution or defense) we’re on.