Attention All Airmen: Air Force Holds Convicted Sexual Assault Offenders Accountable, Sexual Assault Convictions Are Now On-Line
By Col Raymond Toth, Arnold Air Force Base
/ Published October 24, 2013
24 October 2013 --
We have all heard much in the news over the last year regarding sexual assault in the Air Force and I wanted to take a few minutes to assure you all that the Air Force takes sexual assault allegations seriously and investigates all sexual assault allegations fully. All Commanders handle cases involving active duty Airmen without preconceived notions - each case is considered independently based on the facts and circumstances; this is our duty as Commanders and our responsibility to both the victim and alleged perpetrator. Non-active duty Airmen, such as Air Force civilians and contractors, also face significant consequences in local criminal justice systems for committing these types of offenses.
Military cases can result in non judicial punishment or other administrative action, such as demotion, loss of pay or increased duty, and some cases result in acquittals at courts-martial. You should know, however, that the Air Force now publishes sexual assault court-martial convictions on-line. Anyone can go to this website and review more than 100 sexual assault court-martial convictions from across the Air Force, to include viewing them by base.
After a few minutes of reviewing the facts of these cases, you will soon see many cases are very similar - they involve: 1) the use of alcohol, 2) the absence of personal respect for the victim and 3) the absence of the victims' consent. You will also quickly see that Airmen convicted of sexual assault can be held accountable by military judges and court-martial panels with punishments that often include jail time, rank reductions, and punitive discharges. Again, the punishments are unique to each case depending on the factors that aggravate or mitigate the offenses.
A number of these cases involve Airmen assaulting fellow Airmen. Many times these victims were co-workers and former friends - people who trusted their assailant. The offenders elected to violate that trust and were punished accordingly. As required by many state laws, convicted Airmen must also register in their jurisdiction's sexual assault registry. These sex offender lists include the names and addresses of convicted sex offenders, and are publicly available on-line.
Sexual assault is incompatible with military service and members who commit these offenses are subject to discharge for misconduct. Effective two months ago, Airmen who commit a sexual assault will have administrative discharge proceedings initiated against them and may be retained only if they meet a cumulative multi-part test. For Airmen at this base, only the Air Force Test Center Commander, Maj Gen Arnold Bunch, can waive this requirement and only after he concludes that the Airman meets the same multi-part retention test.
I encourage all Airmen to visit the below website and review the facts of the cases, which resulted in these Airmen being convicted of sexual offenses. Note that this list does not include the many additional cases resulting in administrative action or court-martial acquittals, which would still be subject to the above-mentioned mandatory administrative discharge proceedings. Then educate and warn fellow Airmen about the consequences of committing these crimes. When you see a situation that isn't right, be a good wingman; intervene, and insist your fellow Airman treat others with respect. You will regret being a passive bystander when a few words of intervention can forever positively change the lives of Airmen around you.
Now go visit the website: http://www.afjag.af.mil/sexualassaultprosecution/index.asp.