DoD

March 14, 2013

Hagel orders review of sex assault case, convening authority

Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON – Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has directed two separate reviews to ensure that the U.S. military justice system is appropriately protecting victims of sexual assault as well as dispensing justice to the accused, Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said here today.

The orders are an outgrowth of a case against Air Force Lt. Col. James Wilkerson. Last year, a panel of military officers at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, found the colonel guilty of a sexual assault. The judge sentenced him to a year in prison and dismissal from the service.

Lt. Gen. Craig Franklin, the 3rd Air Force commander, was the convening authority for the court-martial and reviewed the finished case and sentence. The general reviewed the case over a three-week period and used his authority under Article 60 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice to dismiss the charges against Wilkerson.

“He concluded that the entire body of evidence was insufficient to meet the burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt,” Hagel wrote in a letter about the case to California Sen. Barbara Boxer.

Dismissing charges like this is rare, officials said, but not unheard-of. A commander is not required to give a reason for the decision, and the commander’s decision is final.

Hagel ordered the Air Force Secretary Michael B. Donley and Robert Taylor, the Defense Department’s acting general counsel, to review the case against Wilkerson. He asked them “to assess whether all aspects of the UCMJ were correctly applied and to make recommendations on how the convening authority’s decision in this case could be more transparent,” Little said. Their report is due back to Hagel on March 20.

Hagel also ordered the acting general counsel to conduct a review of Article 60 of the UCMJ — the article covering the actions of the convening authority. Hagel is asking Taylor to provide an assessment of whether changes should be made in Article 60, and this assessment is due March 27.

Hagel has made it clear to military and civilian leaders that “eliminating sexual assault in the military is one of his top priorities,” Little said.

“Sexual assault is a serious crime that has no place in the department and he will not tolerate it,” he added. “Any member of the military that is convicted of sexual assault — no matter his rank or position — must be held appropriately accountable.”

U.S. service members must know that “they are protected from criminal assault by a system of laws that function promptly, fairly and justly,” Little said.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
(U.S. Air Force illustration/Senior Airman Micaiah Anthony)

AF begins testing phase for women in combat roles

WASHINGTON (AFNS) — In April 2015, the Air Force will begin conducting the physical evaluations required to explore opening the last six career fields currently closed to women. When the law prohibiting women in ground co...
 
 
DoD

New tuition assistance tool attuned to troops’ educational needs

WASHINGTON – The Defense Department continues to invest in its service members and has introduced a new online informational tool tailored to their unique school programs and educational needs, the Defense Department’s chief of voluntary education said in a DoD news interview this week. Dawn Bilodeau discussed a new online tool called “Tuition Assistance DECIDE.”...
 
 

D-M Airmen freefall into the blue

BUCKEYE, Ariz. — You’re standing in an open door of an aircraft soaring 12,000 feet above the ground. You have put your full trust into the person strapped to your back, who you’ve known for less than two hours, to bring you back down to Earth safe and sound. The count begins. “Out…in…out.” The floor of the...
 

 

Enlisted members selected for promotion to get EPR on “select” grade closeout date

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas (AFNS) — In line with a recent update to the Air Force policy on enlisted performance report static closeout dates (SCOD), effective immediately, all future EPRs for promotion-selectees will close out on the date of the promotion-select grade. At the direction of Headquarters Air Force, Airmen promoted to technical sergeant...
 
 
(U.S. Air National Guard photo by 2nd Lt. Lacey Roberts)

First Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program event a success

The 162nd Wing’s Air Wing Integrator hosted her first Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program event on April 10 at the Hilton Garden Inn Tucson International Airport. Christina Desiato began working here last September with a pur...
 
 

Make time to mentor your Airmen

LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, AZ — The Air Force is comprised of Airmen with many skills and talents. The backbone to our continued success is our men and women who strive to be excellent on a daily basis. However, there are times when our focus is derailed by our own personal and professional guidelines. I was taught...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin