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In today’s military climate, there is an emphasis on prosecuting claims of rape, sexual assault and other nonconsensual sexual misconduct (UCMJ Article 120), such as: rape, aggravated sexual assault (adult or child), aggravated sexual contact (adult or child), aggravated sexual abuse of a child, abusive sexual contact (adult or child), indecent liberties with a child, indecent act, forcible pandering, wrongful sexual contact, indecent exposure, and forcible sodomy.
The increased emphasis on these nonconsensual sex offense court-martial prosecutions, and the number of claims that are being highlighted by politicians, news stories and the military hierarchy, means that a military member facing these allegations must be prepared for a long, aggressive battle.
In the most serious of these cases, the accused military members face extreme jeopardy – possible federal criminal conviction, lengthy jail terms, dishonorable discharge or dismissal, sex offender registration and a variety of other legal, professional, personal, and family consequences. An experienced and aggressive defense attorney is absolutely vital in these military cases.
The current climate in the military has resulted in, essentially, a presumption of guilt and a surrendering of discretion by the military command – where more and more meritless allegations are being prosecuted in response to public relations pressure.
More disturbing is the fact that the DoD’s overreaction to public pressure has caused the service branches to conduct mandatory sexual assault briefings in which misinformation about the law of rape and sexual assault in the military and UCMJ is knowingly being spread to the military populace. This has poisoned the entire military justice process – from the investigators (Army CID, Air Force OSI, Navy NCIS, military police) through command, JAG, convening authorities, prosecutors, military judiciary and potential court-martial members (jury).
As a result of this dangerous and unfair climate, a large percentage of the military cases we defend against involve claims of rape, sexual assault, and other alleged nonconsensual sexual misconduct/crimes.
Throughout the years, civilian court-martial defense attorney Richard V. Stevens has addressed his concerns about the military justice climate in rape and sexual assault prosecutions through complaints to the DoD Inspector General (IG), media interviews, and various blog postings and articles, including an article published by this website:
Our blog (www.militaryadvocate.blogspot.com) contains numerous posts about defending against allegations of rape, sexual assault and nonconsensual sexual misconduct in military court-martial trials and the military justice and discipline system, as well as posts about specific cases we’ve successfully defended against. Just use the search function in the blog to review these posts.
Based on the current emphasis on sexual offense cases in the military, attorney Richard V. Stevens is considered a subject matter expert in military rape and sexual assault cases – having defended countless such cases over the years with successful results. He has also been in contact with members of Congress and/or their staffs over these issues and has been sought by media outlets as an expert in the subject.