LANGLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Va. — You should know that the Air Force publishes sexual assault convictions online. Anyone can review more than 100 sexual assault convictions from across the Air Force, to include viewing them by base.
After only few minutes reviewing these cases, you will see many are similar – they involve the use of alcohol, an absence of respect for the victim and a lack of consent. You will also see that Airmen who are convicted of sexual assault can be held accountable by military judges and court-martial panels with punishments that often include jail time, rank reduction and punitive discharge.
The cases of Airmen assaulting fellow Airmen should be especially troubling. Many of these victims were co-workers and former friends – people who trusted their assailant. The offenders violated that trust, and, in addition to a criminal conviction and punishment, they also had to register as sexual offenders in their state’s sexual assault registry. These sex-offender lists include names and addresses of the convicted offenders, are publicly available online and can last from 20 years to life, depending on the nature of the crime.
Criminal sanctions are not the only Air Force response to sexual assault. Effective three months ago, Airmen who commit a sexual assault will have administrative discharge proceedings initiated against them and may be retained only if they meet all the retention criteria in a cumulative, multi-part test. “Sexual assault” is a broad term; it’s definition, as well as the retention criteria, are found in Air Force Instruction 36-3208, Administrative Separation of Airmen. Note that mandatory discharge is not just for Airmen convicted by court-martial, but for any Airman who commits sexual assault, no matter how addressed, including those who receive a letter of reprimand or non-judicial punishment under Article 15 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice. For such Airmen at Langley Air Force Base, only the Ninth Air Force commander can waive mandatory discharge proceedings, and only if he concludes that the Airman meets the all the retention criteria.
I encourage all Airmen to visit the website below and review these cases that resulted in Airmen being convicted of sexual assaults and facing jail time, punitive discharge and registration as a sexual offender. Talk about it; take the time to educate and warn fellow Airmen about the consequences of committing these crimes. Some of you already know Airmen whose behavior is risky; talk to them. Finally, insist your fellow Airman treat others with respect. When you see a situation that isn’t right, be a good wingman–to both parties, and intervene. You will regret being a passive bystander if a few words could have forever changed the lives of the Airmen around you.
Visit the website at http://www.afjag.af.mil/sexualassaultprosecution/index.asp.