German Police Detective Has Memory Issues

Unlike most people who read reporter Nancy Montgomery‘s article published Saturday in Stars and Stripes, I noticed something terribly wrong in some of the comments attributed to German police detective Daniel Lorch. His words conflicted with the real-life events chronicled in my book, Three Days In August, which chronicles the life story of former Army Sgt. 1st Class Kelly A. Stewart and the military justice debacle that ended his stellar career as a Green Beret and landed him behind bars at Fort Leavenworth.

Kelly A Stewart with Book

Kelly A. Stewart with copy of book.

About halfway into the Stripes article, Montgomery shared comments made by Detective Lorch about his experience as an investigator and his personal opinion “that (Stewart) was guilty” of a variety of sexual assault-related charges stemming from a one-night stand involving the highly-decorated Special Forces soldier and a 28-year-old German woman. The reporter did not, however, include any comments by the detective about the complete lack of physical evidence and eyewitnesses to the alleged crimes.

Next, Montgomery attributed a statement to the detective about a taxi driver being among the people (plural) who had allegedly seen Stewart’s accuser the morning she left his hotel and later provided corroborating trial testimony. Apparently, the reporter did not ask the detective for details about those people. Nor did she ask about their testimony during the trial. Why? Because, contrary to what the detective said, only the taxi driver testified as a witness during the trail. Additional witnesses to her departure from the hotel could not be found.

Finally, Montgomery quoted Detective Lorch on the matter of what the taxi driver allegedly saw when she picked up the accuser outside Stewart’s hotel:

“He described, very detailed, very clearly, her physical damage,” Lorch said. “He was sure something very bad had happened to this woman.”

The detective repeatedly referred to the taxi driver in the masculine sense when, in reality, the taxi driver was a middle-age woman with memory issues. I highlighted those issues in the book and in an Oct. 7, 2011, post. An excerpt from the post appears below:

During questioning six months before the trial, according to official court documents, the taxi driver told German police officials, “I’m sorry I don’t see her in front of my eyes anymore right now,” later adding, “I believe she had blonde dyed hair. I don’t remember her clothing or age right now anymore.”

During the trial one year after she had allegedly picked up Stewart’s 28-year-old accuser in front of the Stuttgart-Marriott Hotel in Sindelfingen, Germany, the taxi driver was able to remember accurate details about Stewart’s accuser (i.e., that she was wearing knee-high boots, had long black hair, etc.) that she wasn’t able to remember when it should have been fresh on her mind. A miracle perhaps or was it coaching by prosecutors that helped her “improve” her memory?

Montgomery’s article came 24 days after she had contacted me via email, informing me that she was interested in doing a story about the latest development in the Stewart case, had read my website and wanted to talk.

In a written reply to Montgomery, I told her I had spent a lot of time one year earlier with John Vandiver, a Stuttgart-based Stripes reporter, and that the effort — via phone and email — had yielded not a single story. Furthermore, I told her, I wasn’t excited about speaking with Stripes again and shared a link to a story I published April 19, 2012.

Montgomery persisted, however, and wrote that her story would be about the “latest legal step, the request for reconsideration” from the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces.

KAS Stripes BOLO Poster

“Be On The Lookout” poster issued Aug. 20, 2009.

Because I had written about the CAAF-level step in the appeals process Nov. 27, 2012, I decided to make an offer to the reporter.

“Shoot me all of of your questions and let me know your deadline,” I wrote, “then I’ll do my best to answer them by your deadline while allowing time for follow up.”

Rather than shoot me a list of questions, however, Montgomery informed me that she was going to review some of what Vandiver had gathered when he had talked with me a year earlier. She said she didn’t want to “duplicate some of the work he already did with you and ask questions you’ve already answered. But I am wondering how you got involved in the case. I don’t have a deadline yet.”

Montgomery was, of course, referring to a Nov. 21, 2011, phone interview I gave to Vandiver. It was followed by several email messages and resulted in three articles — #1, #2 and #3 — being published early in 2012. Unfortunately, all were published by yours truly, not Stripes.

“Nancy, I talked with John about how and why I became interested in the case,” I replied. “I also wrote a piece about it: http://threedaysinaugust.com/?p=1136.”

And that was that.

Montgomery did not forward any more questions or make any further attempts to obtain my input. In fact, her name did not appear on my radar again until today when Stripes published her report about the status of Stewart’s appeals process — a report from which she not only omitted my name and the name of my book, but failed to share critical details I had published Thursday in an update to my Nov. 27 piece, Green Beret’s Defense Attorneys Cite Ineffective Counsel During Trial, Ask Court to Reconsider:

UPDATE 12/20/2012 at 8:30 a.m. Central: Bad news received from the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces: “On consideration of Appellant’s petition for reconsideration of this Court’s order issued November 15, 2012, it is, by the Court, this, 19th day of December, 2012, ORDERED: That said petition for reconsideration is hereby denied. For the Court, /s/ William A. DeCicco, Clerk of the Court.”

To read the never-before-published details about Stewart’s wrongful conviction, read the book, Three Days In August. Based on 18 months of research, interviews with the key players and access to the actual Record of Trial, this book is available in paperback and ebook via most online booksellers, including Amazon.com.

Some Guys Have All the Luck — Second Verse

In my June 15 post, Some Guys Have All the Luck, I asked my readers to compare the court-martial outcomes of Army Col. James Johnson III and Army Green Beret Sgt. 1st Class Kelly A. Stewart, the man whose life I chronicled in the book, “Three Days In August.” Today, I’m sad to report, I have to ask you to do that again.

First, consider the summary below, from an article published today in Stars and Stripes, about the court-martial of an Army major in Vicenza, Italy:

Maj. Rodney H. Lipscomb pleaded guilty to charges of engaging in a prohibited relationship and conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman. The jury of five male officers sentenced him Thursday to one year’s confinement and dismissal from the Army.

Lipscomb was found guilty of two of four specifications of sexual assault and forcible sodomy and maltreatment of a subordinate, a private first class, during a shared temporary duty assignment in Bamberg, Germany, on Dec. 5, 2011. Lipscomb, who could have faced life in prison, was found not guilty on the two other specifications of sexual assault. Because of the convictions, he will now be registered as a sex offender in the States.

Now, consider the punishment received by SFC Stewart:

Sgt. 1st Class Kelly Stewart

The highly-decorated combat veteran was convicted of a number of sexual assault-related offenses despite the fact that prosecutors presented no physical evidence and no eyewitnesses to the alleged crimes and only after his accuser — supported by German government officials — refused to provide the court with copies of her medical records that would have shown she had a history of mental illness.

Incredibly, he was sentenced, among other things, to eight years in prison and branded a sex offender for the rest of his life.

I don’t know about you, but I’m appalled — first, to see SFC Stewart wrongfully convicted; second, to see officers receive more-favorable treatment via the military justice system.

I’ve written all about SFC Stewart’s case. “Three Days in August: A U.S. Army Special Forces Soldier’s Fight For Military Justice” is based on extensive interviews and never-before-published details taken from the actual Record of Trial. It’s a book that paints a portrait of military justice gone awry that’s certain to make your blood boil.

After you order a copy of “Three Days In August,” I need you to write to your members of Congress, to the Secretary of the Army and to President Barack Obama; demand that this system of military injustice be fixed.

Thanks in advance!

UPDATE 3/19/2013 at 3:31 p.m. Central:  Since publishing this piece, I have learned there is more to Major Lipscomb’s case than meets the eye.  As soon as I’m at liberty to do so, I will disclose more details.

Soldier Seeks Refuge in the Black Forest (Update)

UPDATE 10/01/11 at 3:05 p.m. Central:  With my book, Three Days In August, scheduled for release Oct. 19, I’ve removed posts containing content found in the book and ask readers to visit the book’s website to learn more about it.  Thanks!

FYI: If you enjoy this blog and want to help keep reading stories like the one above, show your support by using the “Support Bob” tool at right.  Thanks in advance for your support! Have a wonderful 2011!