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.
“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:
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
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