WITCH HUNT: DoD’s Crackdown on Sexual Assaults

By releasing the FY 2011 Annual Report on Sexual Assault in the Military on a Friday, Department of Defense officials must have secretly hoped no one in the news media would notice. A couple of days have passed since its release, but I noticed. More importantly, I suspect others — including Sergeant 1st Class Kelly A. Stewart — probably noticed as well.

Kelly Stewart returns from a mission in Iraq.

Stewart paid a heavy price after being convicted of a bevy of charges, including sexual assault, against a 28-year-old German woman. Among other things, that price included a court-martial conviction during three days in August 2009 that was followed by an eight-year prison sentence, recommendation of a dishonorable discharge and, most importantly, an end to the career of this highly-decorated Green Beret combat veteran.

Rather than look at the new two-page report by itself, I decided to look at DoD’s last four years of annual reports to see if any trends surfaced. I began with the report from Fiscal Year 2008, the year Stewart allegedly committed the crimes, and ended with the FY2011 report:


FY 2008 — In all investigations completed in fiscal year 2008, according to the FY 2008 annual report, commanders had jurisdiction and sufficient evidence of a crime to support taking disciplinary action on 832 subjects. The list of actions taken against these subjects included 317 courts-martial (or 38%), 247 nonjudicial punishments (or 30%) and 268 administrative actions and discharges (or 32%).

FY 2009 — In all investigations completed in fiscal year 2009, according to the FY 2009 annual report, commanders had jurisdiction and sufficient evidence of a crime to support taking disciplinary action on 983 subjects. The list of actions taken against these subjects included 410 courts-martial (or 42%), 351 nonjudicial punishments (or 36%) and 222 administrative actions and discharges (or 23%).

FY 2010 — In all investigations completed in fiscal year 2010, according to the FY 2010 annual report, commanders had jurisdiction and sufficient evidence of a crime to support taking disciplinary action on 1,025 subjects. The list of actions taken against these subjects included 529 courts-martial (or 52%), 256 nonjudicial punishments (or 25%) and 242 administrative actions and discharges (or 24%).

FY 2011 — In all investigations completed in fiscal year 2010, according to the FY 2010 annual report, commanders had jurisdiction and sufficient evidence of a crime to support taking disciplinary action on 791 subjects. The list of actions taken against these subjects included 489 courts-martial (or 62%), 187 nonjudicial punishments (or 24%) and 115 administrative actions and discharges (or 15%).

Note 1: Percentages for each year are rounded up and may total more than 100 percent. Note 2: Links to PDFs of the annual reports listed below can be found at http://www.sapr.mil/index.php/annual-reports.

* * *

ANALYSIS: Though the overall number of cases dropped in FY 2011, the percentage of cases that went to court-martial has increased every year.

Toward the end of the news release about the report, which includes a lengthy “to-do” list of additional sexual assault prevention initiatives on the horizon, a comment from Defense Secretary Leon Panetta appears:

“As this report makes clear, we have more work to do to confront this problem. There are no easy answers, but that makes it all the more essential for us to devote our energy and our attention to trying to confront this challenging crime.”

In other words, “Full steam ahead, justice be damned!”

Based on extensive interviews and never-before-published details taken from the actual Record of Trial, Three Days In August: A U.S. Army Special Forces Soldier’s Fight For Military Justice chronicles the life story and wrongful conviction of Stewart and paints a grim portrait of how he became a victim of the sexual assault witch hunt that’s been taking place within DoD since 2007.

Please read the reviews, then buy a copy and spread the word. Thanks in advance!

FYI: Please pray for Stewart and his family as he faces another appeal hearing Thursday morning at Fort Belvoir, Va. For more details, read my post, Soldiers’ Hearings to Take Place Four Days Apart in April.

This entry was posted in Kelly A. Stewart, Special Forces, Three Days In August and tagged , , , , , , , by BobMcCarty. Bookmark the permalink.

About BobMcCarty

A native of Enid, Oklahoma, Bob McCarty graduated from Oklahoma State University with a degree in journalism in 1984. During the next two decades, he served stints as an Air Force public affairs officer, a political campaign manager, a technology sales consultant and a public relations professional. Today, Bob spends most of his time researching topics, writing about them and publishing those writings. When he’s not writing online, he’s working as an author. Bob’s first published book, Three Days In August: A U.S. Army Special Forces Soldier’s Fight For Military Justice (October 2011), chronicles the life story and wrongful conviction of Sgt. 1st Class Kelly A. Stewart, a highly-decorated Green Beret combat veteran. In his second book, THE CLAPPER MEMO (May 2013), Bob connects the dots between a memo signed by James R. Clapper Jr. — the man now serving as our nation’s top intelligence official — and the deaths of dozens of Americans in Afghanistan at the hands of our so-called Afghan “allies” wearing the uniforms of their nation’s military, police and security forces. Bob is married, has three sons and lives in the St. Louis area. Bob is available for media and blogger interviews. Simply drop a comment here, leaving your name, organization, phone number, e-mail address and area of interest. He’ll try to respond as soon as possible.

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