Imagine yourself in the shoes of a veteran Navy officer who, while old enough to retire, decides to stay on active duty because people in your vital career field are in short supply during time of war. Then something awful surfaces; a female sailor accuses you of doing something to her, but she cannot remember any details.
An Article 32 investigation is conducted to determine whether formal charges should be drawn up, and the officer in charge of the investigation recommends against moving forward with charges and always-ugly court-martial proceedings. Why? Because, he reports, the accuser is simply not credible.
Just as you begin to breathe a sigh of relief, your world turns upside down. Rejecting the investigating officer’s recommendation, senior Navy officials opt to prosecute you, a trial takes place, and you are convicted of sexual assault-related charges by a panel comprised of military members overloaded with training on what constitutes sexual assault. Among the “lessons” they learned was this: “If a female has a single drink of alcohol she is unable to give consent, but if the male is drunk, it’s simply regrettable sex.”
Before you know it, you’re behind bars in a military prison and trying to come to grips with being branded a sex offender for the remainder of your life — if, that is, your appeals fail.
That’s what happened to the husband of a Navy wife who contacted me almost six months ago after reading the life story of Army Green Beret Sgt. 1st Class Kelly A. Stewart, chronicled in my book, Three Days In August.
NOTE: Because her husband’s case is still in the appeals process, she has asked me not to reveal names via which she and her husband might be identified. Why? Because her husband has already been made an example by Navy leaders, and she doesn’t want his case impacted further if she can prevent it.
Today, the Navy officer’s wife forwarded copies of several letters which combine to prove that Navy officials have merely acted as foot soldiers in the Department of Defense War on Men.
In the first letter, written to R.R. Lamoureux, Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Manpower and Reserve Affairs, via J.A. Riehl, director of the Secretary of the Navy Council of Review Boards, members of the Navy Clemency and Parole Board (NC&PB) wrote, among other things, that they voted unanimously to recommend parole. In keeping with military justice guidelines, their recommendation was based upon whether or not the convicted officer was likely to offend again.
Two weeks later, Riehl wrote a letter to accompany the one sent by the NC&PB to Lamoureux.
“I do not concur with the Naval Clemency & Parole Board’s recommendation for parole,” Riehl stated, before going on to say that the convicted officer’s “offenses involving the sexual assault of a fellow sailor represent a significant departure from the conduct expected of a naval officer particularly in light of departmental efforts to eliminate the rash of sailor-on-sailor assaults that have plagued the military and generated significant concern among members of Congress and the general public.”
Six weeks later, Robert T. Cali, Assistant Secretary of the Navy (M & RA), wrote a memo to the president of the Naval Clemency & Parole Board, stating that the officer’s request for clemency and parole had been disapproved.
Of course, there are many more details to this case which, one day, I will be at liberty to disclose. Meanwhile, shame on Navy leaders for allowing self-centered concerns of members of Congress to outweigh military justice for a man who devoted his life to serving his country. Stay tuned!