I interviewed Army Sgt. 1st Class Kelly A. Stewart several times and have gotten to know him well during the past three years, but I will probably never know the former Green Beret as well as the Soldiers with whom he served combat tours in places like Kosovo and Iraq. After Stewart was tried and found guilty on bogus sexual assault-related charges during three days in August 2009, many of his brothers-in-arms wrote letters of support on his behalf.
Written by an Army officer who was serving with Stewart at the time he was accused of raping and kidnapping a then-28-year-old German woman, one of those letters (see excerpt below) addresses a few — but not all — of the problems with the prosecution that resulted in Stewart being sentenced to eight years confinement at the U.S. Military Disciplinary Barracks at Fort Leavenworth, Kan:
Having testified at the trial, my greatest disappointment was his conviction without forensic evidence, without consideration of the alleged victim’s psychiatric history, and his conviction without consideration for why the victim left her phone number and never left the hotel room following sexual contact with PVT Stewart. I feel that some in the jury may have confused their disdain for PVT Stewart’s violation of his marriage covenant with his guilt as a violent sexual criminal. He was not on trial for adultery.*
Unfortunately, letters like the one above seemed to carry little weight with Army officials who considered them alongside other documents submitted as part of Stewart’s Request for Clemency packet.
While the letters spoke volumes about the respect Stewart earned from his fellow Soldiers, other pieces of information I pored over — including the Record of Trial — convinced me beyond a shadow of a doubt that the highly-decorated Stewart is a victim of the military justice system bowing to political correctness and pressure from the German government.
To learn more about why Stewart, a man who served his country honorably, should have never been prosecuted, more less convicted, order and read Three Days In August.
To provide financial assistance to Stewart and his family, click on the “DONATE” button at SaveThisSoldier.com, a website built and managed by Stewart’s dad, himself retired after more than 30 years of service in Air Force Special Operations.
*Editor’s Note: Stewart is referred to as a private in the excerpt above, because his sentence included a demotion to the Army’s lowest enlisted rank as well as prison time and a dishonorable discharge.
UPDATE 4/19/2015 at 1:19 p.m. Central: Check out the limited-time free-books offer here.