Tag Archives: rape

Is Accuser’s Facebook Update Riddled With Inaccuracies?

After reading my recent article about Michael Silva’s request for clemency, a friend of Silva’s shared what appears to be damning observations about the allegations that landed the former Air Force military training instructor behind bars for 20 years, convicted of multiple sex crimes.

Alleged Facebook status update posted by Michael Silva's accuser Sept. 4, 2012.

According to MSgt. Lisa Chloros, USAF Ret., this is a screenshot she captured of a Facebook status update posted by Michael Silva’s accuser Sept. 4, 2012.

“What is interesting is these ‘alleged’ victims don’t realize that, when they lie about things like rape and life in general, they will be found, especially in social media,” wrote MSgt. Lisa Chloros, USAF Ret., in a comment on my Facebook page Tuesday. Via Facebook message earlier today, she noted her findings date back as far as 2009 and include many social media postings. In addition, she asked me to make it clear she is aiming her comments only at those engaged in the business of making false allegations.

One of those things, she explained, was a status update posted by Silva’s accuser on her Facebook page Sept. 4, 2012. The text of that update appears below with only minor modifications for clarity while the photo above shows her exact words:

“The person who sexually assaulted me was my training instructor. When I reported it to a doctor at Wilford Hall Medical Center because I realized the flashbacks I was having were causing me to blackout. I told him I just needed him to tell me how to stop passing out after flashbacks because I couldn’t risk my career! He looked straight at me and said we aren’t going to talk about that. I was discharged for migraines, which the doctor admitted to me I didn’t meet the criteria for that diagnosis but he would recommend discharge because I wasn’t going to ruin his career. My training instructor literally stalked me until discharge. The last thing he said to me is “Are you going back to your home of record?” I stayed home for Christmas and moved away. For years, it’s affected my life. I didn’t tell anyone for many reasons after being discharged. I’ve been working on this issue to be taken care of. I recently found a promotion list. He is now a chief master sergeant and stationed a few hours from me. It’s taking senators to stop him now! Thanks to help at the VA, I’m doing much better. They changed a diagnosis a civilian doctor gave me of bipolar disorder, realizing my symptoms were from military sexual assault and post-traumatic stress disorder. Nightly nightmares, anxiety attacks, flashbacks and sleep deprivation is devastating to a person. Thank You God for giving me the strength to do what I said I would do the night it happened, that is not let him win and one day see that he ends up in Fort Leavenworth. Please let everything myself and those backing me be successful in holding him responsible for his actions.”

Below, I break out four items Sergeant Chloros gleaned from that Facebook status update:

1) Silva’s accuser claims the person who sexually assaulted her is now a chief master sergeant. Silva, however, was a master sergeant (i.e., two ranks lower than chief) who had been selected for promotion to senior master sergeant (one rank lower than chief) and was not allowed to put on that rank due to the allegations she had made against him.

2) Silva’s accuser claims she recently found a promotion list, implying his name was on it. The newest promotion list at the time of her Facebook posting, the December 2011 yearly Air Force chief master sergeant promotion list, did not list anyone with the last name, Silva, and Michael Silva’s name didn’t appear on any promotion list until Feb. 28, 2013 — over five months after his accuser had posted her status update.

3) Silva’s accuser claimed (Silva) was “stationed a few hours from me,” despite the facts she was living in the Pacific Northwest and he was living in San Antonio and had been living there since 2009.

4) The military doctor Silva’s accuser claims she contacted is now a civilian physician who lives and works in California. He testified during Silva’s trial in January that no female basic trainee ever reported to him that she had been raped and, if one had made such a report, he would have reported it immediately.

“I just discredited her whole story with her own words,” Sergeant Chloros said, by simply analyzing one Facebook status update.

According to Sergeant Chloros, some aspects of the accuser’s social media activity were presented during trial, but many more were only discovered after the trial. That in mind, I reached out to Joseph A. Esparza, the San Antonio-based civilian defense attorney who helped represent Silva, ans asked him if any arguments were made concerning Facebook status updates posted by Silva’s accuser in September 2012 that appear to conflict with her trial testimony. When I receive an answer to my question, I’ll share it in an update.

If, based upon the details highlighted above and in the previous article, you believe Silva deserves some form of clemency, I encourage you to reach out to Maj. Gen. Mark A. Brown, 2nd Air Force commander, who is the convening authority (a.k.a., “the decision-maker in the case). All three of the men listed below are worthy contacting with your concerns:

MAJOR GENERAL MARK A. BROWN <– Update: He is the convening authority!
2nd Air Force
Keesler AFB, MS
Email: mark.brown@us.af.mil

BRIGADIER GENERAL ROBERT D. LABRUTTA
c/o 502nd Air Base Wing Public Affairs
2080 Wilson Road
JBSA-Fort Sam Houston, TX 78234-5004
Phone: (210) 671-2907
Email: usaf.jbsa.502-abw.mbx.fsh-public-affairs-office@mail.mil

LIEUTENANT GENERAL DARRYL ROBERSON
Air Education and Training Command
1 F Street, Suite 1
JBSA Randolph TX 78150-4324
Phone: (210) 652-5224
Email: darryl.roberson@us.af.mil

Thanks in advance for reading and sharing the article above and those to follow, and please show your support by buying my books and encouraging your friends and loved ones to do the same.  To learn how to order signed copies, click here.

Click on image above to order Bob's books.

Click on image above to order Bob’s books.

Clemency Letter Reveals Much About Pentagon’s Eagerness to Convict Military Men on False Sexual Assault Allegations

Michael Silva wrote a letter recently, and it’s being delivered Monday to Brig. Gen. Robert D. LaBrutta, commander of the 502nd Air Base Wing and Joint Base San Antonio who served as the convening authority in the court-martial during which Silva was convicted of sexual assault and sentenced to 20 years in prison. The content of the letter offers much insight into the lengths to which military prosecutors will go to get a conviction.

Silva: General has less than 30 days

Background: According to one news account, Silva’s case was the oldest yet in a scandal at Lackland AFB, Texas, that saw 35 basic training instructors investigated for misconduct with 68 recruits and technical training students over a four-year period. And it pitted the senior noncommissioned officer against victims who had remained silent for years.

Silva’s letter is seven single-spaced pages, contains nearly 4,000 words and stands as a key part of the clemency packet he hopes will convince the general to grant him full clemency for the sexual assault conviction he received Jan. 30 so that he can retire with the rank, pay and benefits of an Air Force senior master sergeant — the rank he earned Feb. 28, 2013, but was never allowed to wear.

Though General Labrutta has 30 days to decide whether or not he’ll grant Silva any form of relief, full or partial, I’m sharing details of the letter so that you can weigh the facts of the case as we wait for an official decision.

Because of the nature of Silva’s letter and some of the names mentioned in it, I’m unable to share it word for word. Instead, I’ll paraphrase on occasion and edit as best I can without clouding the content too much. In addition, I’ll decipher some military lingo and add links and boldface type as I see fit.

Finally, I must emphasize these are Silva’s beliefs and allegations, not mine. And so I begin.

Silva begins the letter by sharing a few details about his current circumstances:

My name is Michael Silva. At the age of 20, I proudly followed in my father’s footsteps by joining the military; in which I honorably served our country for over 24 years. As you can clearly see from my record, my goal was not just to accomplish the status quo; I chose to stay in past 20 years because I lived and breathed the Air Force Core Values. I was not done mentoring our Airmen; there was so much more I wanted to do. On 28 February 2013, I was selected and received my line number for senior master sergeant and aspired to make even more of a difference as a chief master sergeant someday. My plans were cut short by false allegations against me.  Now, I sit in a prison cell hoping and praying that, although the military justice system that I once believed in and preached about failed me, the eyes of the blinded will be open and the truth shall set me free.

In the second paragraph of the letter, the 44 year old offers a few details about how he was accused of sexual assault as part of a larger scandal that made the national news:

Before I provide you with a brief synopsis of my military career, I would like to make a statement about my court martial and why the military justice system failed me. I feel that my court martial guilty verdict was decided prior to it even beginning. The fact that I had previously been a Military Training Instructor, resulted in my immediate connection to the current Basic Military Training sexual assault scandal and the political witch hunt began yet again. There were several instances of MTI’s misusing their power and authority to have inappropriate sexual relationships, whether forced or otherwise. This had nothing to do with me and in fact, during my combined 9 years as a MTI both at Lackland BMT and Officer Training School at Maxwell AFB, Alabama, I never once received any negative feedback from either BMT or OTS students or MTIS Leadership, only awards and other accolades. There is so much political pressure to end military sexual assault and prove to Congress that the military is handling these cases. But what they fail to see is there are innocent service members such as myself that are falsely accused and unjustly convicted. I was given a 20-year sentence for crimes I DID NOT COMMIT!

In the third paragraph of the letter, Silva describes his post-conviction state of mind:

For the last 7 months since my conviction, I have sat here in disbelief, waiting to wake up from this horrible nightmare. It is a daily struggle not to lose myself or to be angry at the Air Force and DOD for allowing me to be a statistic, making me a number and throwing me away like a piece of trash. I am just a number now and it’s not my service number or my Social Security Number; I have a prison number that I wear across my chest that replaces the words U.S. Air Force. I was given this number for doing nothing more than serving my country honorably and being the victim of false accusations. Although I have been wronged, I realize I have a choice. I could let this define me by being angry, or I can continue to have faith and believe that God will right this wrong. Even here behind these brick walls, secured doors and barbed wire, I continue to help others who are struggling, by mentoring those who need guidance, physically training those whom need strength, and preaching God’s word to those who are feeling weak. But it doesn’t change the fact that I don’t belong here and I should still be mentoring our great Airmen.

In the fourth paragraph of the letter, he recalls how he reacted upon being charged:

In 2013, when the charges were filed against me I took the advice of my lawyers and did not discuss the case because I thought it would hurt me. For nearly 2 years I lived in hell, constantly worried about what other people were saying or thinking. I was so prideful; more worried about my image, and wondered how I would ever recover to get my career back on track, because mind you, even after these allegations I still wanted to be that chief. I laugh about it now; I was simply worried about not getting senior rater endorsement. I was worried about my reputation as a senior noncommissioned officer. It never crossed my mind that I could ever end up here. But I have lost so much more than my image and my chance to be that motivating chief; I have lost my freedom, my family, my career and my line number for senior master sergeant, all while doing nothing to discredit the United States Air Force. Luckily, I have a huge support team rallying behind me who are continuing to gather more evidence to contradict the allegations.

Silva goes on to write about his chief accuser in the next two paragraphs:

I do not feel I received a fair hearing. To this day, I have no recollection of my accuser, supposedly a student in one of my flights (i.e., groups of basic military trainees).  Based on her records, I assume she was in my flight for a couple of days, but I had no significant interaction with her that would make her memorable.  I certainly never engaged in sexual activity with her. I have no idea why she chose to make up this story or why she chose me, but when you only fulfill a few days in Basic Training your options at choosing a perpetrator are few.

I am requesting for you to look at this with an open mind regardless of any rumors you may have heard. This trainee’s entire life is a lie and she has no integrity as you will see in other documents provided for your review. As you will see both of the alleged victims had much to gain monetarily.

In the seventh paragraph, he shares some — but, by no means all — of the most-interesting aspects of the case, each of which should, by itself, cause General LaBrutta to pause:

• A basic trainee comes forward 17 years after she was medically separated for migraines in 1995. This basic trainee was only in my squadron for the first 3 nights of basic training. Any enlisted person knows that a member of the same gender sleeps (i.e., “oversees”) the flight the first 2 nights. Therefore, a female MTI sleeps the female flights, I had no access to this trainee, nor would I have. I was a single father with much more to lose than my career; I had a 4 year old son who had only me.

• There were 3 MTI’s, including myself, assigned to the flight.  There were 20 other trainees of that flight that were interviewed and none of them had anything negative to say, quite the contrary.

• My accuser couldn’t explain any detail about the BMT process, and everything that came out her mouth contradicted the policies and procedures that were in place at BMT to safeguard them, account for and train our Airman.

• Expert BMT witnesses also contradicted her story of BMT processes not just in my squadron, but also in two others and at the Airman’s Chapel and Wilford Hall Medical Center. From dorm guard procedures, entering and exiting the dormitories, being recycled, movement between squadrons and movement for medical treatment, her lies go on.

• She also stated that she was chosen to be an element leader, but this was not true either. Element leaders’ sleep in the first couple of beds by the MTI office, and she stated her bed was further back toward the rear of the bay, which means she wasn’t an element leader.

In the eighth paragraph, Siilva addresses what he calls his chief accuser’s “motive to lie”:

• It wasn’t until after she remarried an Army Veteran living off VA disability that she began making these false claims and then here comes the “Lackland, BMT Sex Scandal.” Now she has an “in” to tell her made up story in order to continue to receive any VA compensation she was claiming and/or get a higher rating or possibly retroactive pay from 1995. Say she got the max 100% disability, with 6 children (although 5 do not live with her) $3,200.00 a month x 12 months x 20 years = $768K. She had been following the story of Ruth Moore whom first made national news around the time my accuser first told her family she was sexually assaulted and started making VA claims. Mrs. Moore was petitioning for the VA to accept victims stories of assault and provide them treatment, Mrs Moore later sued the VA and won her case and was awarded retroactive pay in the amount of $405K in the Spring of 2014.

• In my accuser’s first statement (Fall 2012), she stated she didn’t tell anyone this happened to her – not even her first husband who was with her at medical hold and gave her five children. She told Air Force Office of Special Investigations that she did not tell her mother, or anyone else in her family, most of whom work in law enforcement.

• At trial, her mother testified that her daughter told her when she returned from Basic Training, but that her daughter must not have remembered. So for 17 years she never asked her daughter how she was doing dealing with this rape? This is completely unbelievable.

• My accuser later claimed to investigators that she told one other person, another Trainee she met at the BMT who died in July 2008. This is too convenient of a story.

• My accuser claimed I showed up at the chapel on base in civilian clothes, like I was stalking her, and introduced myself to her uncle whom is a sheriff in the state of Washington. Her uncle stated in a sworn statement to the AFOSI that the incident never happened; he did not meet a drill instructor nor did one introduce himself to him.

• My accuser also changed her story and stated not only did it happen once, but twice.

• My accuser testified on the stand that the only reason she came forward was to prevent this from happening to anyone else. She waited 17 years to make sure it never happened again? She was already seeking compensation for it over 2 years before she made this allegation against me. If it wasn’t about the money, then why did she go after the money first?

He continues to address the matter of his chief accuser’s motive by informing the general about other issues, including her mental health, publicity surrounding the case, financial issues and family history:

• Unfortunately, this woman (self-proclaimed in social media posts) suffers from a mental health disorder. [NOTE: An accuser’s mental health status played a key role in the case of an Army Green Beret convicted of sexual assault in 2009. Details here.]

• She had clear motive to make up this story. She got the attention of both military and political figures that vowed to ensure her case would be handled effectively. By all the attention she received and the publicity of this case, I did not receive a fair trial.

• Significantly, she lived off Social Security benefits prior to age 30.  She had a Habitat for Humanity Home built for her, that she left and forfeited in a last ditch effort to force her ex-husband to once again reconcile with her by relocating out of state with their 5 sons. She also owned and operated a psychic website.

• Her father has a history of fraud. Her biological father was an alcoholic and a drug addict and was in and out of prison before her parents divorced. He is currently serving time in an Oklahoma prison for embezzlement.

In the ninth paragraph of his letter, Silva highlights allegations made against him by an ex-wife who also testified against him during his 2015 trial. Without getting into any of the sordid details, I’ll condense Silva’s description of their relationship: After he asked for a divorce, she objected and allegedly told his mother during a phone call, “I’m going to ruin your son’s career” and hung up. [NOTE: “Ruin” is a word readers of my work have seen used before by a sexual assault accuser. Details here.]

The next thing Silva knew, according to the letter, he was under investigation by the AFOSI for an allegation she had made years earlier and then recanted in the form of a sworn statement. Below is the text of the handwritten sworn statement that appeared on an AF IMT 1168 Form (a.k.a., “Witness Statement Form”) dated May 7, 2007, that is not included in Silva’s clemency letter but is included in the clemency packet:

“I do not feel after reading Article 120 that the situation reported to OSI meets the criteria of this allegation. I consented to intimacy with Michael Silva. I only thought it necessary to report since my leadership advised it was the right steps to take. I had no intention of reporting this, I had wanted to put this behind me. Master Sgt. (last name redacted) asked if Mike was forceful or had aggressive behavior in intimacy. I wasn’t aware this was headed toward rape charges. I didn’t know where this fit. I know Mike has an aggressive and controlling personality, but don’t reel that rape depicts our situation.”

[NOTE: Despite the fact she had recanted her allegation seven years earlier and said Silva had not raped her, she appears to have changed her mind again and testified during the 2015 trial that he did. To wit, Silva explains “my story never changed, but hers did in all the statements she made since 2013 and in her sworn testimony.”]

In the 10th paragraph, Silva focuses on what he believes was his ex-wife’s motive to lie:

She admitted on the stand that she has been collecting VA money since she separated from the AF prior to these charges even being filed against me. She was collecting VA money with a recanted statement. She had no choice but to testify against me or she would likely have lost her VA benefit for it. She was getting out of the military, just had a new baby, and her new husband was not working. She needed the money.

In the 11th and 12th paragraphs, he reflects on many of his personal and professional accomplishments. In the interest of saving space, however, I will not include them here. Instead, I’ll skip forward to the next paragraph:

In early 2009, I received a Red Cross message that my father was in a coma following an accident and suffered a traumatic brain injury. I applied for a humanitarian assignment back to Texas to take care of my father who could not talk, walk, feed himself, bathe, or use the restroom. He could not do anything unassisted. He needed around-the-clock care and assistance. I was his sole caregiver and tended to him every evening after work, leaving his care to a medical aide I hired during the day.

He continues in that paragraph, describing the many responsibilities of his assignment in San Antonio, concluding with this statement:

In early 2013, I found out I had been promoted to senior master sergeant; not long after that, I learned I was being investigated for an alleged sexual assault from 1995 and was removed as the Airman Leadership School commandant.

In the next three paragraphs, Silva reflects on his situation before asking the general for clemency:

If I was guilty of the crimes I was accused of, why would I have not dropped my paperwork to retire? We all knew they were investigating BMT. I did not drop my paperwork, because I knew I was innocent. I loved the Military Training Instructor Corps and what I was able to instill in our Airmen and our Air Force.  A lot of them still sought guidance from me over the years. I would never have done anything to discredit myself, my professional appearance, or the United States Air Force.

Any person with the slightest connection to the military can now seek and obtain monetary benefits by merely accusing someone of sexual assault, whether it’s true or not.  The military and VA have created incentives to fabricate sexual assault and the result is that innocent people are suffering trials and convictions for crimes they never committed.  That is what happened to me.  I never raped, struck, nor purposely harmed any woman in my life.

I am respectfully requesting that you grant me full clemency for this wrongful conviction and that I am able to retire with the rank I rightfully earned in the grade of senior master sergeant with all my benefits and pay. I honorably served for 24 years, with “Integrity,” putting “Service Before Self” and “Excellence in All We Do.” I applied these Core Values both on and off duty. The only thing I am guilty of, and regret, is putting the Air Force before my son all these years. I could have managed that aspect better. All I want is a chance to put this behind me and move on with my life. I understand that this is political; I understand that you Sir, would be forced to somewhat put your reputation and career on the line for me. But a trainee with a made up story infiltrated our Air Force, BMT and our way of life. All of this for VA money that our taxpayers are now burdened to assume. If this isn’t stopped it will continue to happen to others. At the very least, please grant me another chance at a fair trial, with an unbiased judge and jury. This is my life. My Freedom has been taken from me and I respectfully request that you help me right this wrong.

Silva ended his letter with a quote from Thomas Aquinas:  “as a matter of honor, one man owes it to another to manifest the truth.”

If, based upon the details highlighted above and in the previous article, you believe Silva deserves some form of clemency, I encourage you to reach out to Maj. Gen. Mark A. Brown, 2nd Air Force commander, who is the convening authority (a.k.a., “the decision-maker in the case). All three of the men listed below, however, are worth contacting with your concerns:

MAJOR GENERAL MARK A. BROWN <– Update: He is the convening authority!
2nd Air Force
Keesler AFB, MS
Email: mark.brown@us.af.mil

BRIGADIER GENERAL ROBERT D. LABRUTTA
c/o 502nd Air Base Wing Public Affairs
2080 Wilson Road
JBSA-Fort Sam Houston, TX 78234-5004
Phone: (210) 671-2907
Email: usaf.jbsa.502-abw.mbx.fsh-public-affairs-office@mail.mil

LIEUTENANT GENERAL DARRYL ROBERSON
Air Education and Training Command
1 F Street, Suite 1
JBSA Randolph TX 78150-4324
Phone: (210) 652-5224
Email: darryl.roberson@us.af.mil

Thanks in advance for reading and sharing the articles above and those to follow, and please show your support by buying my books and encouraging your friends and loved ones to do the same.  To learn how to order signed copies, click here.

Click on image above to order Bob's books.

Click on image above to order Bob’s books.

Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics Used as Weapons Against Honorable Military Men in Sexual Assault Witch Hunt

“Lies, damned lies, and statistics” is a phrase popularized by Mark Twain and used to describe the persuasive power of numbers and, particularly, the use of statistics to bolster weak arguments. Especially during the past few years, lies, damned lies and statistics have been used in tandem with bogus sexual assault claims to end the careers and ruin the lives of military men.

Because Our Warriors Deserve Justice

More often than not, the folks dealing in lies, damned lies and statistics are members of the national news media, politically-active filmmakers and attorneys willing to overlook facts in order to promote an agenda. They’ve become so successful in spreading their misinformation that someone unfamiliar with military life might believe any woman who survives a single day in uniform has done the equivalent of surviving 24 hours inside a third-world prison.

For a stellar example of such biased reporting, one needs only turn to an ABC News Nightline segment about the Oscar-nominated documentary, “The Invisible War, that aired Feb. 22, 2013. Featuring correspondent Cynthia McFadden, it includes mentions of a handful of cases purported to be representative of the so-called sexual assault “epidemic” in the military. Because I’m not privy to the facts of the individuals cases highlighted during the five-and-one-half minute segment, I won’t dwell on them in this piece. Instead, I’ll focus on the lies, damn lies and statistics pitched as truths.

McFadden begins by talking about sexual assault in the U.S. military:

“It has long been a shameful secret inside the U.S. military — the widespread epidemic of rape and sexual assault, where our countries defenders find themselves defenseless and, often, without a way to seek justice,” she begins. “Now, many of them are telling their stories in a powerful and moving Oscar-nominated documentary.”

McFadden continues speaking as images of aircraft and women in uniform flood the screen:

“Women have reached some of the highest echelons in the military. They are fighter pilots. Sit at the controls of Marine One. Have earned Silver Stars for courage under fire. As well as a general’s four stars. While they may be succeeding on the front lines, there is an invisible battle that is taking its toll. Listen to these women.”

The faces on the screen change as each woman has her say:

“Everything changed the day that I was raped,” says one woman;

“He hit me in the head and knocked me out,” says another; and

“I remember holding the closet thinking, ’What just happened?’” says a third.

McFadden’s voice returns to accompany slow-motion video of marching Soldiers, replaced seconds later by a logo for the documentary:

“Their stories are the heart of the Oscar-nominated documentary, ‘The Invisible War.’

A quick dissolve brings the image of a fourth woman into focus, and the woman says, “If this is happening to me, surely I’m not the only one,” before McFadden’s voice returns to accompany more moving images of Soldiers on the march:

“A film that shines a light on a hidden epidemic. According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, some 30 percent of women in the military have been raped or sexually assaulted while serving their country.”

McFadden tosses out the “30 percent” figure as easily as a scantily-clad 19-year-old girl in short shorts launches free t-shirts into the bleachers at a semi-pro baseball game, prompting me to ask, “Was it a lie, a damned lie or simply a statistic?”

A simple online search leads me to believe it is, at best, a fudge-flavored statistic (i.e., a statistic about which someone “fudged” the truth). At worst, it’s a lie.

I found only two statistical entries offering such estimations. Both appeared on a VA fact sheet for which a more-detailed VA fact sheet is erroneously cited as a source for claims that 23 out of 100 women (or 23 percent) reported sexual assault when in the military and that 55 out of 100 women (or 55 percent) and 38 out of 100 men (or 38 percent) experienced sexual harassment when in the military.

Next, the Nightline segment moved indoors, into a studio, where Kirby Dick, the director whose filmography includes several documentaries on controversial subjects, sits against a black background and begins to gush statistics while unchallenged by the alleged journalist, McFadden.

Kirby goes on to say something I believe is true — “I’m just astounded by the statistics” — before he cites a statistic he declares to be truth: “Nineteen-thousand men and women are being sexually assaulted each year in the U.S. military.” But is that figure a lie, a damned lie or simply a statistic?

In search of an answer, I conducted another online search and found the figure used by folks at PBS in a report on a case of alleged sexual assault involving Air Force personnel less than three months later. In addition, I found the original source of the figure. It appears on page 13 of the 729-page document, Annual Report on Sexual Assault, Fiscal Year 2012, produced by the Department of Defense Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office. It does not, however, represent things the way McFadden, Dick and the folks at PBS might have you believe.

To understand what the number does represent, one can turn to an explanation that appears in a one of the report’s footnotes — that the estimate was computed using weighted population estimates of the 4.4 percent of active-duty women and 0.9 percent of active-duty men who indicated they experienced an incident of unwanted sexual contact in the 12 months prior to the 2010 Workplace and Gender Relations Survey of Active Duty Members (WGRA) — but that explanation is not very helpful and might have you rubbing sleep out of your eyes.

Click on image above to read article.

Click on image above to read article.

A more helpful explanation appears early in a nine-page article, Fostering Constructive Dialogue on Military Sexual Assault, published inside Issue 69, 2nd Quarter 2013, of the National Defense University Press publication, Joint Forces Quarterly:

At a press conference in January 2012, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta stated that he estimates there were 19,000 sexual assaults in the military in 2011. That number is derived from a statement in the Department of Defense (DOD) Annual Report on Sexual Assault in the Military, Fiscal Year 2010. The report does not actually explain its methodology for arriving at the number, but it does state the number is based on data from the Defense Manpower Data Center 2010 Workplace and Gender Relations Survey. Perhaps more importantly, the report does not refer to 19,000 sexual assaults, but rather 19,000 reports by individuals of unwanted sexual contact.

The Defense Manpower Data Center 2010 survey never uses the number 19,000. Rather, the document relays the results of a survey of 10,029 Active-duty female Servicemembers and 14,000 Active-duty male Servicemembers. The survey itself is forthright and explicit about the numbers it produces and its methodology. The sample size and sample composition necessarily make extrapolation military-wide problematic. The sample was clearly weighted toward female responses, and the definition of unwanted sexual contact did not align at all with the colloquial understanding or any statutory or legal definition of sexual assault. Nevertheless, the number 19,000 arose as an extrapolation from the numbers in this sampling, and this number has pervaded the media discussion ever since. Most practitioners of justice and criminal investigators throughout the military should agree that the figure cited by Secretary Panetta is unrealistically high.

If you suspect the JFQ article was written by a long-in-the-tooth male military officer eager to please his superiors, then you’re wrong. Instead, it was written by then-Captain Lindsay L. Rodman, a female Marine Corps officer who was serving as a Judge Advocate (a.k.a., “military lawyer”) at Judge Advocate Division, Headquarters Marine Corps, at the time she wrote the piece.

A statement Captain Rodman wrote about the 19,000 figure stands as a sort of indictment of those who deal in lies, damned lies and statistics for personal gain:

“Nevertheless, the number 19,000 arose as an extrapolation from the numbers in this sampling, and this number has pervaded the media discussion ever since. Most practitioners of justice and criminal investigators throughout the military should agree that the figure cited by Secretary Panetta is unrealistically high.”

A telling footnote seems to target lazy journalists:

For the numbers to work out according to their math, this extrapolation necessarily requires that half of those victims (up to about 10,000) would be male, which anecdotally seems questionable.”

Other unsubstantiated figures are tossed out during the Nightline segment. Chief among them is one McFadden included in a statement — “In fact, only 8 percent of assault cases go to trial” — that’s not accompanied by any attribution or source document.

Incredibly, according to Dick, military leaders have made his documentary part of DoD’s sexual assault awareness program. Need I say more about how bent and twisted the military has become due to political correctness?

There are more issues l could tackle, but I think I’ve made a strong enough case without going beyond these lies, damn lies and statistics.

To see the impact the lies, damn lies and statistics associated with the Pentagon’s sexual assault witch hunt are having on honorable military men, I encourage you to read about two Army combat veterans:

Maj. Christian “Kit’ Martin is a Ranger and attack helicopter pilot whose trial on bogus sexual assault charges begins Oct. 12 Dec. 1 at Fort Campbell, Ky; and

• Former Sgt. 1st Class Kelly A. Stewart is the elite Green Beret medic and sniper whose life is chronicled in my first nonfiction book, Three Days In August.

This article was updated to reflect a change in the trial date.

UPDATE 12/7/2015 at 8:27 a.m. Central: A military judge continued the military trial date for Army Maj. Christian “Kit” Martin to sometime in March 2016, though no specific date has been set.

UPDATE 12/10/2015 at 11:15 a.m. Central: I’ve learned that Major Martin’s military trial date is set for March 14-18, 2016.

For links to other articles of interest as well as photos and commentary, join me on Facebook and Twitter.  Please show your support by buying my books and encouraging your friends and loved ones to do the same.  To learn how to order signed copies, click here. Thanks in advance!

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If You’ve Ever Known An American Soldier…

If you’ve ever known and cared about an American Soldier, I trust you’ll read this article about Maj. Christian “Kit” Martin, a 47-year-old career Army officer facing the very-real prospect of spending 58 years in prison if convicted on sexual assault charges during his military trial that begins Oct. 12 Dec. 1 at Fort Campbell, Ky.

Because Our Warriors Deserve Justice
I use the words, “very-real prospect,” because I’m painfully familiar with how the military justice system works when those at the top of the Pentagon “food chain” feel unbelievable pressure from the likes of Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) and Sen. Kristen Gillibrand (D-NY), leaders of the politically-correct crowd in our nation’s capitol who ignore solid evidence about sexual assault in the military and instead demand prosecution of all who are accused — even if no evidence, eyewitnesses or other facts exist to warrant such prosecution.

Major Martin’s case is merely the latest in a long string of cases about which I’ve learned the details since releasing Three Days In August, my book that chronicles the wrongful prosecution, conviction and sentencing of Sgt. Kelly A. Stewart. Stewart was an Army Green Beret and combat veteran with a flawless record until a young German woman accused him of rape and kidnapping. Learn more about his case here and at ThreeDaysInAugust.com.

Though I can’t explain why so few Americans demonstrate any interest in the plight of falsely-accused Soldiers, I continue to share these stories about people who could just as easily be anyone’s father, husband, brother, son or uncle. I hope you will read and share them, too.

Below are links to the articles I’ve published during the past five days since I learned about Major Martin’s plight:

Army Soldier-Aviator Faces Possible 58-Year Sentence As Pentagon’s Sexual Assault Witch Hunt Seeks New Victim;

Army General Asked to Explain Decision to Prosecute; and

URGENT! Another Stellar Army Soldier-Aviator The Latest Victim of the Pentagon’s Sexual Assault Witch Hunt.

This graphic tells Maj. Christian "Kit" Martin's story in a nutshell. If justice doesn't prevail, he faces the possibility of spending 58 years in prison for something he did not do.

This graphic tells Maj. Christian “Kit” Martin’s story in a nutshell. If justice doesn’t prevail, he faces the possibility of spending 58 years in prison for something he did not do.

In addition to articles, I’ve published nearly a dozen video clips from an interview I did last week with Major Martin. Links to the clips appear below:

Major Martin Interview Clip #1 — He talks about his life before he signed on the dotted line;

Major Martin Interview Clip #2 — He describes how it felt to be receive a “top of the line” officer evaluation and be described as an officer of “unquestionable integrity” by Raymond T. Odierno, an officer who would go on to earn four stars and serve as chief of staff of the Army, the highest-ranking post in the Army;

Major Martin Interview Clip #3 — He talks about what it’s like to have had what many might consider a “dream job,” flying the world’s most-sophisticated attack helicopters and using weapons that “go boom”;

Major Martin Interview Clip #4 — He tells me about the early days of his relationship with the woman who would later accuse him of horrendous crimes;

Major Martin Interview Clip #5 — He describes the beginning of the battle he’s now fighting with the woman he thought was his legal wife and how it reached the boiling point soon after he was assigned to the vaunted 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell, Ky;

Major Martin Interview Clip #6 — He describes what happened in his life after the woman he considered his legal wife went to the FBI and told agents he was an international spy;

Major Martin Interview Clip #7 — He and I discuss a second set of allegations made against him by the woman he considered his legal wife;

Major Martin Interview Clip #8 in which he describes what happened to him after he filed a “Congressional,” essentially asking members of Congress to help him right a wrong being done to him by the Army;

Major Martin Interview Clip #9 in which he describes how the acting commanding general at Fort Campbell reacted to his subordinates telling him they didn’t think the charges against him should go forward;

Major Martin Interview Clip #10 in which he shares his opinion as to whether intense political pressure forced then-Brig. Gen. Mark Stammer to take action against him despite the fact that multiple investigations had cleared him; and

Major Martin Interview Clip #11 in which he reveals how the woman behind the accusations against him had a secret of her own revealed and is now facing charges stemming from it in both Tennessee and Kentucky.

For information about who to contact about Major Martin’s case, go to this main story and scroll down until you see names, addresses and other contact information in BLUE.

Thanks in advance for reading the articles, viewing the videos, sharing the information and contacting people in authority who should bring an end to this travesty of military justice.

Stay tuned for updates about this case as it moves forward!

This article was updated to reflect a change in the trial date.

UPDATE 12/7/2015 at 8:28 a.m. Central: A military judge continued the military trial date for Army Maj. Christian “Kit” Martin to sometime in March 2016, though no specific date has been set.

UPDATE 12/10/2015 at 11:16 a.m. Central: I’ve learned that Major Martin’s military trial date is set for March 14-18, 2016.

For links to other articles of interest as well as photos and commentary, join me on Facebook and Twitter.  Please show your support by buying my books and encouraging your friends and loved ones to do the same.  To learn how to order signed copies, click here. Thanks in advance!

Click on image above to order Bob's books.

Click on image above to order Bob’s books.

Though Facing Possibility of Life Sentence on Bogus Charges, Green Beret Refused to Violate Code of Conduct During Trial

On trial for his freedom and facing the possibility of a life sentence six years ago, Army Sgt. 1st Class Kelly A. Stewart refused to violate his Code of Conduct as a member of the Army’s elite Special Forces unit known as the Green Berets.

Kelly A. Stewart returns from a mission in Iraq.

Kelly A. Stewart returns from a mission in Iraq.

At one point during his two-day trial inside a U.S. military courtroom in Germany, the trial counsel asked Stewart questions about friendships he had established in Germany since his August 2008 arrival in the Stuttgart area. Soon after, the highly-decorated combat veteran’s time on the witness stand turned into a somewhat-heated exchange during which it appeared the trial counsel was trying to paint Stewart as a master manipulator whose Special Forces training helped him know how to control a person like his accuser.

Stewart’s accuser was a then-28-year-old German woman. On Nov. 7, 2008, she accused him of having raped and kidnapped her two and a half months earlier during a one-night stand that ended in his hotel room in Sindelfingen, Germany. Nine months after he was charged, Stewart found himself convicted at court-martial on multiple charges — including kidnapping, forcible sodomy and aggravated sexual assault of a woman — based almost entirely on the testimony of his accuser.

Below is an excerpt from my first nonfiction book, Three Days In August, in which I chronicle the life story, wrongful prosecution and wrongful conviction of Stewart. In it, I highlight the exchange between Stewart and the trial counsel that shows how the accused soldier refused to violate his Code of Conduct [Note: CDC = Criminal Defense Counsel; TC = Trial Counsel; MJ = Military Judge; WIT = Witness; SERE = Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape Training]:

Q. And you were brought to Germany to be an instructor in the survival division?
A. Yes, sir.

Q. And you would consider yourself a–this is somewhat subjective, but a highly trained soldier being a Special Forces soldier?
A. Can you repeat the question, sir?

Q. Being a Special Forces soldier, you would consider yourself highly trained? You have more training than the average soldier in combat-type stuff?
A. Sir, I can’t talk about other soldiers, for instance, the panel is here, their experiences versus mine, I’m not qualified to talk about–

Q. I’m not asking–
A. –I can tell you that I have training in the United States Army.

Q. You don’t consider yourself highly trained?
A. I consider myself trained by the Army, sir.

Q. Okay, you’ve gone through the “Q” Course?
A. Yes, sir, I have.

Q. You’ve gone to the Target Interdiction Course?
A. Yes, I have.

Q. And that trained you how to be a sniper?
A. Yes, sir.

Q. Have you gone through SERE training?
A. Yes, I have, sir.

Q. And not just SERE training, but the high-risk SERE training?
A. Yes, sir, I have.

Q. And that course–those courses are all fairly intense, right?
A. Yes, sir,

Q. Much more intense than your basic training, AIT, your average BNCOC/ANCOC-type courses, is that correct?
A. Any discussions on the details of my training–

Q. Just asking if they’re intense, Sergeant.
A. Sir, I’m trying to answer the question. Any details or my opinions about any of the training that I have attended in the United States Special Forces Qualification Course, I’m not authorized to discuss with you. Now, if in closed session, the judge would like to ask me those questions, I might be able to discuss it with him, but I myself have been instructed, and I have a PAO guy, any of my training I’m not at liberty to discuss with anybody.

Q. So you can’t say that those courses are mentally challenging?
A. I think any courses in the United States Army are mentally challenging, sir.

Q. You can’t say that they’re psychologically tough?
A. I think Basic Training was psychologically tough on me, sir.

Q. Now I pulled this off of the internet, this is open-source information I’m going to ask you about.
A. Okay, sir.

CDC: Objection, Your Honor, to that testimony by the government.

TC: I’m not getting answers to my questions, Your Honor, I’ve got to preface–if he’s going to refuse to answer my questions, I’ve got to tell him where I’m getting this stuff if he’s going to invoke his Special Forces training to prevent him from answering questions or policy, I’m sorry.

MJ: Objection overruled. Ask the question.

Q. At the SERE course you’re taught how to resist violent captors, is that correct?
A. Again, sir, unless I’m authorized by the (Special Operations Command Europe) Public Affairs Officer, I can’t discuss the training that I received at the SERE-level C School.

Q. You’re taught how to resist torture?
A. Again, sir–

Q. We’re going to go through this, so, that’s fine–
A. No, again, sir, I don’t know what I’m authorized to discuss with you because I’m not the releasing authority of my training.

Q. I got this off of Wikipedia.com.

CDC: Objection, Your Honor, that is not evidence before the court, that is merely an assertion by counsel.

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TC: And the accused will not answer my questions.

MJ: Objection sustained. Ask the question, if the accused answers he answers.

Q. You were taught how to resist torture?
A. I was taught to resist and to return with honor.

Q. You were taught how to resist interrogation techniques?
A. Again, I was taught to resist and to return with honor.

Q. You were taught to resist exploitation, isn’t that correct?
A. I was taught to return with honor, sir.

Q. And you were taught how to combat psychological ploys of your captors, isn’t that correct?
A. Could you rephrase the question, sir?

Q. You were taught how to combat psychological ploys of your captor?
A. Again, any teachings, techniques, plans, or policies that that school has I’m not authorized to discuss with anybody in here, because this is an open forum.

WIT: And if the questions are going to continue down that road, Your Honor, I’d ask that it be at a closed session because currently we are in an open session with an open court and I am not the approving authority or the releasing authority of the information or training that I received there.

The above is only one snippet from his military trial. To learn more, read the other articles I’ve written about the case and read some of the endorsements of the book. To fully understand why I remain so passionate about wanting to see justice for this TOP ONE PERCENT SOLDIER, you’ll have to read the whole book. Three Days In August​ is available in paperback and eBook at Amazon.com. Signed copies are available as well.

For links to other articles of interest as well as photos and commentary, join me on Facebook and Twitter.  Please show your support by buying my books and encouraging your friends and loved ones to do the same. Thanks in advance!

Click on image above to order Bob's books.

Click on image above to order Bob’s books.