Military Noncommissioned Officer Has Sexual Assault Court-Martial Case Dropped (UCMJ Article 120)

Recently, a military noncommissioned officer (NCO) defended by attorney Richard V. Stevens (Military Defense Law Offices of Richard V. Stevens, P.C.) had the sexual assault court-martial case he faced dropped by the military (UCMJ Article 120).

The client was accused of sexual assault by two different women who he had relationships with that ended badly and resulted in child custody disputes. The client was formally charged by the military with sexual assault, and his case proceeded to a pretrial Article 32 hearing.

The initial complainant had a documented history of lying and being disciplined for her lies and dishonesty on multiple occasions. She claimed she was sexually assaulted by the client, but later married him – despite the previous alleged sexual assault. She made the allegations against the client a year after they allegedly occurred, after the marriage had ended, when the client sought shared custody of their child. The complainant told a witness the client would regret it if he kept trying to be involved in the child’s life, and when he continued his pursuit of a role in the child’s life, the complainant made her claims to military investigators. The Article 32 Preliminary Hearing Officer (PHO) commented on the complainant’s lack of credibility and the Convening Authority dropped the court-martial charges related to the first complainant.

During the investigation regarding the first complainant, the second complainant told military investigators the accused never harmed her, and explained why she believed the first complainant was lying against the accused. However, later, when the client’s relationship with the second complainant ended, and a custody fight was pending, this second complainant completely changed her story and now claimed she was sexually assaulted by the client. She too had a questionable history, including custody issues arising out of a previous marriage. After the Article 32 hearing, the government pressed forward toward a general court-martial (“felony” type military trial). The defense requested discovery regarding the second complainant’s background and history. Rather than face questions about her background, her clearly inconsistent sworn statements about the client, and her obvious custody motives, the complainant dropped out of the case. The government then had to drop the court-martial case against the client.

Had there been a court-martial trial and sex crime conviction in this case, the client could have been sentenced to a dishonorable discharge, a lengthy term of confinement in prison (possibly decades) and, in addition, he would have been required to register as a sex offender. Thankfully, the court-martial case was dropped and he was spared this risk of devastation to his future.

While this military court-martial and sexual assault case was successfully defended, it is important to understand that every case has different facts, and success in previous cases does not guarantee success in any particular future case. No military lawyer or civilian defense lawyer, including those who specialize in military law, can guarantee the outcome of any military trial or case.

For more information about the military justice system, particularly cases alleging rape and/or sexual assault in violation of UCMJ Article 120, see our page at:

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Attorney Richard Stevens

Mr. Stevens has been handling military cases since 1995. He has defended military cases dealing with the most serious military offenses, including allegations of “war crimes,” national security cases, murder, manslaughter, homicide, rape, sexual assault, other sex related offenses, drug offenses, computer crimes (pornography), larceny, fraud, AWOL/desertion, conduct unbecoming, military academy offenses, offenses within combat zones, senior officer cases and other military specific offenses around the world. [ Attorney Bio ]