Though I’ve written about many military justice cases involving men fighting false sexual assault allegations, I think the words of those directly impacted by the false allegations and military trials that follow carry more weight. Therefore, I’m sharing the content of a message I received today from a woman who went through the nightmare of her military husband’s court-martial and conviction. For reasons that should become obvious to you as you read her words, the names and personal information have been changed to protect their identities.
Hello, Mr. McCarty:
I know you receive messages from many families, so I am not sure if you remember me, but we communicated several years ago about my husband, Phil. Phil and I started dating while he was going through a divorce. He was (wrongfully) convicted the following year when his now ex-wife accused him of forcible sodomy after he and I started dating. Although this tragedy has made things very hard at times, we have had the happiest relationship and marriage for nearly eight years now. Anyhow, I read the article about Todd Knight and the letter from his mother, and it reminded me to reach out to you.
Although it has been very hard, Phil and I have moved on, as much as one can move on, from this tragedy. Much like Todd Knight’s mother, I am amazed at how my husband manages to keep pressing forward. We spent upwards of $40,000 fighting for custody of his children. Unfortunately, every time we would prevail and custody would be awarded to him, his ex-wife would take off in hiding long enough to have jurisdiction moved to another state. We could not financially afford to continue the fight and his ex-wife was starting to punish the kids for wanting to see him, so he made the very difficult decision to stop fighting in the hope that by doing so his ex-wife would stop punishing his daughters. He put his faith in God that he will watch over them and reunite them again someday. We have not seen the kids in over 5 years, sadly. His ex-wife has since accused yet another military member, her now-estranged second husband, of abuse. He is her 3rd service member victim, and we pray that all the children involved (Phil’s and her second husband’s) will somehow make it through this with minimal damage, or at the very least, that some day we can help them through any damage they have suffered as a result of this terrible situation. In light of this new development, we gave it a great deal of thought to restart our fight again. We have been even looking at hiring the appeals lawyers Dallas can offer us, maybe even search for a local law firm. Still, when faced with the possibility of his ex-wife pulling the same tricks, and thinking about the amount of money we spent fighting her before, we soon lost our nerve once again.
The most troubling and heart breaking part of this is hearing so many people tell us that they cannot believe he was convicted. Even the sexual assault therapist he was ordered to meet with during confinement and the law enforcement officers and prosecutor in charge of enforcing his offender registration are in disbelief that he was convicted. His case was literally “he said, she said,” and she was accusing him of assault years after she claimed it occurred (and only after he had started dating someone new), but still he was convicted nonetheless.
On one hand, it makes him feel good to hear that people who are actually trained and experienced with these sort of matters truly believe in his innocence. On the other hand, it is a hard thing to swallow because, even in spite of that, there is nothing anyone can do about it.
Having this weighing over his head and losing out a on a relationship with his children are things that will always weigh heavy on his heart (their birthdays, father’s day and holidays are still very solemn for him), but we have moved on as much as one can from this.
Phil finally has a great job — a career he loves. We have a beautiful home and are starting a family. I suppose that is my intention of telling you all this — to let other families, other service members effected in this way know that they should continue to fight, but in any case, there is hope at rebuilding life after this kind tragedy. If ever we can provide support or a kind ear to other service members or families effected in this way, please feel free to tell them they may contact us.
The story told in the letter above bears many striking similarities to other military justice cases I’ve followed during the four years since the release of Three Days In August, a nonfiction book in which I chronicle the life story and wrongful conviction of a highly-decorated combat veteran and elite Green Beret on bogus sexual assault allegations.
Stay tuned for more details about this story as I’m working to obtain copies of the Record of Trial and other documents related to this case. Inexplicably, according to the couple involved, the military branch in which he served said the ROT was “classified” and refused to give him a copy of it upon request. As incredible as that seems, nothing surprises me anymore when it’s related to the Pentagon’s sexual assault witch hunt.
UPDATE 11/6/2015 at Noon Central: Though I’ve promised not to reveal the names of the players involved in the case outlined above, I located the ex-wife/accuser of “Phil” and discovered she maintains a presence on several social media platforms and has more than one pornographic web site as part of a business that uses sex-related words and imagery as its primary products. How the military justice system sided with her is beyond comprehension!