Commentary

July 27, 2012

My job is prosecuting sexual assault

by Col. Don M. Christensen
Chief, government trial and appellate counsel

Here’s a simple truth … sexual offenders reject our core values of integrity, service and excellence, in favor of following their own base, undisciplined, criminal desires.

Most sexual assaults committed by Airmen are “blue on blue,” or Airmen victimizing other Airmen.

So in addition to rejecting our core values, these undisciplined Airmen reject the Wingman concept that we prize in the Air Force.

They represent a direct threat to unit morale, good order, and discipline. They degrade combat readiness but with the combined efforts of command, law enforcement, and our team of prosecutors, they will be held accountable. Together, as a team, we will protect other Airmen and protect our strength and combat readiness as the world’s greatest Air Force.

Detecting and prosecuting sexual assault is our priority. Recently, we posted on the Internet significant Air Force sexual assault prosecutions. The posting can be found at http://www.afjag.af.mil/sexualassaultprosecution/index.asp.

As you can tell from a quick review of this information, we will prosecute sexual offenders anywhere they are found. From reviewing these cases, you can see sexual assault in the Air Force carries substantial penalties.

Our partners in AFOSI thoroughly investigate each allegation to provide commanders with timely, accurate, and prosecutable evidence. They pass the ball to commanders, who call upon my team to prosecute the offender to the maximum extent allowed under law.

Our team of prosecutors is better than any you will see in the civilian community or on TV. I have 17 highly skilled senior trial prosecutors, who are selected from among hundreds of judge advocates for their top-notch trial skills. They have the very best trial skills in the Air Force JAG Corps. They prosecute the Air Force’s most serious courts-martial.

Seven of my senior trial prosecutors have been identified as “Special Victim Unit (SVU)” prosecutors, due to their training and experience in combating sexual assault. They are dedicated to bringing justice to victims of sexual assault and ensuring commanders are able to appropriately hold offenders accountable.

In the typical case we prosecute, the accused Airman exploits his victim’s intoxicated state to commit the sexual assault. We are very effective in prosecuting these offenders, and the law encourages us to prosecute Airmen who use alcohol to facilitate sexual assault of substantially incapacitated victims. Prosecuting this kind of case is one of our core specialties.

The Air Force has done a great job training Airmen about respecting other Airmen and not sexually abusing their fellow Airmen. Training can reach many Airmen who might be tempted to commit this crime. For others, who cannot be persuaded by training, my team, the Senior Trial Prosecutors – Special Victims Unit, stands at the ready to vindicate the victims.




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


 
 

 

Leadership Lessons: Who would you follow?

GRAND FORKS AIR FORCE BASE, N.D.†-†Over the last year I have enjoyed reading articles from our wing leadership on their perspectives and experiences which have made them better leaders. I have great admiration for their words of wisdom and have benefited from their shared experiences. When I was asked to write a leadership piece I...
 
 

Is the Air Force in you?

OXON HILL, Md. – When I think about being a good Airman first, there are two quotes that have framed my focus. The first came from Chief Master Sgt. A.C. Smith, the command chief master sergeant for the 388th Fighter Wing at Hill Air Force Base, Utah. It was part of his address to the...
 
 

Gaining Altitude – Growth Opportunities for the Week

Through our character – an opportunity to reflect on important issues in our community - Professor Clayton Christensen at Harvard Business School is amazed at the fraction of students who give so little thought to their purpose in life. He recognizes that finding your purpose is not always easy even for Harvard students.  He decided...
 

 

Focus on deliberate self-development

I am an American Airman. I am a warrior. I have answered my nation’s call. These words should resonate with each of us who have the honor and privilege of wearing the uniform. Each time I recite our creed, I feel a sense of pride. I hope every Airman reading this shares my sentiment. Each...
 
 

Through our character – an opportunity to reflect on important issues in our community

- What is your purpose?  That question is asked of us throughout the years. Perhaps a better question should be “have you forgotten your purpose”? Professor Clayton Christensen at Harvard Business School states it this way, “Over the years I’ve watched the fates of my HBS classmates from 1979 unfold; I’ve seen more and more...
 
 
U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Sarah Hall-Kirchner

Meeting veteran helped me feel connection with grandfather

U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Sarah Hall-Kirchner Dale VanBlair, World War II veteran, addresses the crowd that honored him for his 93rd birthday in Belleville, Illinois, June 17. VanBlair thanked everyone for coming to...
 




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>