Local

August 2, 2013

Two guilty pleas, two sex offenders, several scars to heal

Capt. Mitchell Suliman
OSJA, NTC and Fort Irwin

On June 19, Sgt. Enos Miller pled guilty to violating Uniform Code of Military Justice Article 120b for committing lewd acts upon a child. The military judge overseeing his plea sentenced him to seven months confinement and a bad conduct discharge. The following day, Spc. Kevin Rodriguez pled guilty to violating UCMJ Article 120b and 134 for molesting and annoying underage children, and UCMJ Article 92 for failure to obey a lawful order. Rodriguez was sentenced to 24 months confinement, a bad conduct discharge, and received a grade reduction to E-1. Both Soldiers must register as sex offenders and now face a lifetime of challenges that such a registration and bad conduct discharge places upon them.

Miller committed lewd acts upon a 15-year-old girl he met at his 2-year-old niece’s birthday party.
After asking the victim to be his “friend” on Facebook, he spent the next month messaging her and sending her nude photos of himself. Many of his messages were sexually explicit, asking and saying things to a 15-year-old girl that no 33-year-old, married non-commissioned officer, such as Miller, should. At trial, Miller admitted to doing these things to gratify his own sexual desires.

Rodriguez approached six underage girls while he drove around Fort Irwin’s middle school and family neighborhoods. He would stop the girls to tell them how good they looked and to try to get their phone numbers. After being caught the first time, the 22-year-old, married Soldier disobeyed his troop commander’s direct order to stay away from children and subsequently approached two more underage girls.
Rodriguez’s most concerning action was taking one of the victim’s cell phone from her hand so that he could secure her number and proposition her by text the next day. Similar to Miller, he too admitted to doing these things to gratify his own sexual desires.

This type of behavior is crude and reprehensible, and therefore has no place in the Army. What is particularly concerning is how both Soldiers targeted underage females, seeking them out while they were isolated. Sex crimes have no place in the Army. The President, Gen. Raymond Odierno, and the SHARP training that Soldiers take make this abundantly clear. When it comes to children, these crimes are even scarier and have consequences, which reverberate well beyond individual Soldiers or single families.

Here, victim after victim, testified how Miller’s and Rodriguez’s actions terrified them, making them question if they would be abducted and sexually assaulted. A number of the victims testified about nightmares that they now have and how their lives have been radically changed; they are unable to trust others, go out after dark, or walk anywhere alone. What these young ladies said shows how real and damaging are the consequences of sex crimes.

There is no place for this conduct in our military and in our society. Our military is built on integrity, leadership and team work. Soldiers are supposed to defend and protect those who cannot protect themselves. When a Soldier instead decides to prey on the helpless, he threatens our shared values and foundation. Miller and Rodriguez, as Soldiers, should have known better, particularly Miller. As an NCO, Miller’s egregious conduct violated the creed he espoused and the core principles of the Army he vowed to lead.

Our Army continues to make every effort to curb sexual assaults. When crimes such as these occur and are substantiated, the Army will act, including prosecuting Soldiers when merited. Both Miller and Rodriguez were mentally competent and legally responsible for what they did. They gave no justifications for their crimes and pled guilty to the charged offenses. Despite their service, Miller and Rodriguez are no longer eligible for most Army benefits, including Veterans Affairs benefits. With a bad conduct discharge showing on their DD 214 military release form and a sex offender registration, finding civilian employment may prove difficult.




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


 
 

 
Courtesy photo

Summer program a success

Courtesy photo Children and volunteers gather for a group photo during the “Wilderness Escape” Vacation Bible Study program, which ran July 28-Aug. 1. “Wilderness Escape” was the theme of Fort Irwin’s Summer Vacation ...
 
 
SGMEsmurria_SPCMartinez_carepackages

Operation Gratitude delivers care packages to Fort Irwin

Fort Irwin United States Army Garrison Command Sgt. Maj. Carlos Esmurria (right) and Spc. Joaquin Martinez, military police officer, help with the delivery of care packages from Operation Gratitude, Aug. 8. Operation Gratitude ...
 
 
Ellie_desert_tortoise

Tortoise alert

Ellie the desert tortoise lives in a pen at the DPW Environmental Center here. The desert tortoise represents the epitome of a survivor. Able to go a year or more with no access to water, the tortoise stores all it can get in a...
 

 
Fort-Irwin-Shuttle-map

Tiefort shuttle gets you around post

  The Logistics Readiness Center operates a free, on-post shuttle Monday through Friday (except federal holidays), from 7:50 a.m. to 4:03 p.m. Two shuttles travel in oposite directions. Route A begins near building 866 and...
 
 
SGTAyala_famliy_TVIS

Setting the tone for the school year

Capt. Jason King, deputy resident engineer with Army Corps of Engineers here, and wife Christy walk nieces Yalicia, 5, and Yalia, 7, to Lewis Elementary School here, Aug. 7. The King’s son, Robert (red shirt), will also be st...
 
 
Photo by 1st Lt. Peter Belden

Free supplies for back-to-school

Photo by 1st Lt. Peter Belden Christopher Harris was one of approximately 260 Fort Irwin children who received a free school bag, Aug. 6. For 260 Fort Irwin children, back-to-school excitement began Aug. 6 – one day before sc...
 




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