Observing 4th Anniversary of Green Beret’s Bogus Conviction on Sexual Assault Charges

EDITOR’S NOTE: Four years ago today, Army Sgt. 1st Class Kelly A. Stewart was found guilty by members of a court-martial panel of several sexual assault-related charges despite the fact Army prosecutors presented no evidence of any kind to prove his guilt. In short, the highly-decorated Green Beret combat veteran became one of the early victims of the War on Men in the Military. Slightly modified for stand-alone publication, the excerpt (below) from my book, Three Days In August: A U.S. Army Special Forces Soldier’s Fight For Military Justice, provides graphic details of what happened the night after SFC Stewart learned he had been found guilty.

Kelly A. Stewart

Kelly A. Stewart

“So, they find me guilty. It’s late at night. In an instant, my whole life got flushed right down the toilet,” said Kelly A. Stewart, recalling the verdict that changed his life just before midnight on August 19, 2009. “I am smart enough to know that my life is screwed. The rest of my life. No matter what. My life is done.

“Clearly, I felt that I was shafted, and I knew there was no way to fix it,” the career soldier and Green Beret explained. “This is an analogy I use. It might come across as messed up, but this is my analogy, and this is why I chose to do what I did.

“I was not going to have everybody do prison time with me,” said Stewart, recalling his thoughts after a court-martial panel found him guilty of sex crimes against a German woman and handed down a sentence that included a reduction in rank, from E-7 to E-1, forfeiture of all pay and allowances, eight years of confinement and a recommendation for dishonorable discharge upon release.

“I wasn’t going to go to prison and have my kids have to go through having their dad in prison and my wife having to stand by my side and go without a husband for years —- and, at that time, I didn’t know the length of the years,” said Stewart, a Special Forces combat medic and Level One-trained sniper. “I didn’t know the length of my sentence; I just knew that I was found guilty.”

That’s when he made a decision.

“I never thought I was going to prison,” Stewart said. “When I got back after (being convicted), I had a reality check in the hotel room” at the Krystal Inn, the on-post hotel where he was staying near the court building where his trial was taking place at Rose Barracks in Vilseck, Germany.

About the only plans he made took place during the last intermission in the courtroom before his guilty verdict was announced. After calling his wife and telling her he wouldn’t be coming home soon, Stewart also called his bank and transferred all of the money in his account into his wife’s account.

“I already knew what I was gonna do,” he recalled.

Sgt. 1st Class Kelly A. Stewart returns from a mission in Iraq.

Kelly A. Stewart

Back in their room at the Krystal Inn, Stewart and his buddy, Sergeant First Class Detrick Hampton, laid in their beds and talked most of the night until Sergeant Hampton fell asleep around 5 a.m. Less than an hour later, Stewart began to implement his hastily-crafted plan.

Careful not to wake Sergeant Hampton, Stewart got up out of his bed about an hour later, put on his Army Combat Uniform and low-quarter shoes and collected a few items—including a combat knife and a rubber band—he thought he might need. Oddly, he left his black Army jump boots in the room.

Quietly, he walked out of his second-floor room at the Krystal Inn where, even after he was found guilty, he was not kept under guard — an indication, perhaps, that some in the Army still didn’t think he was as dangerous as the charges, eventual conviction and news media coverage of his case might have indicated. He had, after all, never been deemed a danger to others or a flight risk.

Because he had not planned to go away for a long time, Stewart didn’t prepare by gathering lots of clothes, money and 16 passports. Instead, he ensured only that he had enough money for gas to go where he needed to go to take his own life. And with three combat tours in Iraq and other stints in Kosovo and Macedonia under his belt, he knew enough about medicine to make it happen.

Once outside the hotel room, Stewart walked the short distance to a staircase in the center of the building, down a single flight of stairs and through an open-air hallway out to the parking lot where his rental car, an Audi Q5, was parked.

He drove the SUV a short distance to the Shoppette —- the name the Army and Air Force Exchange Service gives its convenience stores located on military installations -— where he purchased a laundry list of items: three 50-count bottles of Tylenol caplets, one 72-count package of Sominex tablets, two 16-ounce bottles of Gatorade Riptide Rush, some writing paper and a couple of pencils.

“I thought about how other people have killed themselves, and they generally either hurt or make a display for other people, but I didn’t want to do is be found dead somewhere where some kid was gonna see me (and) I didn’t want to get drunk and drive down the road and do something irresponsible where I could injure someone else or another family,” he said. Instead, he tried to pick an out-of-the-way place close by, in the woods, where he knew only an adult would find him. In the end, he opted for a wooded park area at a nearby training range.

Sgt. 1st Class Kelly A. Stewart at work in Iraq.

Kelly A. Stewart

After leaving the Shoppette, he knew he had to reach his destination by 6:30 a.m., the time at which the perimeter road that encircled two Army posts and the training range in between them would close so troops could use it for physical training (i.e., “PT”).

Immediately after pulling off the road and parking his car near a trail, Stewart drank about a fourth of the contents of each Gatorade bottle. Next, he used the flat surface of a tree stump and the flat edge of a large combat knife to methodically crush 150 Tylenol tablets (500 mg) and 50 Sominex tablets. Finally, he scooped the now-powdered medicines into the bottles and shook them up.

From his experience in hospital emergency rooms, he knew the crushed tablets, when swallowed, would have a much more toxic effect than coated tablets designed to reach the stomach before their contents were released. In addition, the sleep medicine would simply make it easier for him to endure his passage from life to death.

Next, he used a 12-foot length of CAT-5 cable that he had had in his room at the Krystal Inn to make a hangman’s noose on an A-frame-style deer stand he found in the woods only a kilometer or two away from the court building.

“I measured the CAT-5 so my feet wouldn’t touch the ground,” Stewart explained. “There was a base I could stand on to get my neck in the noose, but the base was high enough that, when I passed out, my feet wouldn’t touch the ground.”

At one point before he put the noose to work, a German forest marshal working on the German-American post drove by, saw Stewart in his vehicle and exchanged pleasantries with him. Upon learning from Stewart that he was “just waiting on doing some training here,” the forest marshal drove away.

Sgt. 1st Class Kelly A. Stewart on duty in Iraq.

Kelly A. Stewart

In retrospect, Stewart said, “I think that was my divine intervention, telling me, ‘Don’t do it, stupid.’” But he didn’t listen.

As soon as the forest marshal left, around 9:15 a.m., Stewart began consuming the drink in a process he compared to a Selection event—one of the grueling steps he survived en route to the SF Qualification Course. In other words, consuming the drink—and keeping it down—was very difficult.

Trying to hold it down was difficult. Every once in a while, he found himself throwing it back up into the bottle, because it burned so much on the way down.

“Everybody says, ‘I’m gonna kill myself,” he said, “but, to really do it and be successful is an event in itself.”

Why Tylenol, Sominex and Gatorade? It was part of his plan.

“In SF, we have this acronym called a PACE plan—Primary, Alternate, Contingency and Emergency. Everything that we do has a four-step plan in there…a redundancy thing…

“I had a PACE plan, but it wasn’t very good,” he said, noting the fact that he had survived.

“The Tylenol was, I guess, the primary thing,” he said, explaining that he had seen enough Tylenol overdoses in emergency rooms to know that it was an effective, but very painful technique.

“The alternate was the sleeping medicine.

“The CAT-5 cable was the contingency.”

Kelly Stewart meets country music superstar Toby Keith at an undisclosed location in Iraq.

Kelly Stewart and Toby Keith

Consuming the toxic cocktail took close to 40 minutes.

“Basically, when I started feeling myself get drowsy, I knew it was time and kind of stood up in this little A-frame deer stand, and I had the CAT-5 cable,” Stewart said. “I had it double-knotted, and I used a Prusik knot.” Similar to a slip knot, it was invented by an Austrian for mountaineering and climbing purposes.

While waiting for the drugs to take effect, Stewart wrote one letter each to his wife and daughters, to his parents and extended family, to members of his SF team, to Judge Kuhfahl and to the members of the court-martial panel. After writing the letters, he put a rubber band around them and placed his Tag Heuer wristwatch, his wedding ring and the money he had had in his pocket on top of them next to his vehicle. Accompanying those items were instructions for whoever found him to make sure the letters were delivered and the watch and ring were returned to his wife.

It was approaching 10:30 a.m., the time the court was set to convene, and Stewart realized people would start looking for him soon. Before he could worry too much about being discovered, however, the drugs began to take effect.

“I get drowsy (and) I realize, ‘Hey, it’s time,’ and said some prayers, because I knew I was gonna black out,” he said. “I had to work my way over to where this hangman’s noose was, because I had to basically kind of climb a little bit on it so that, when I passed out, (it) would catch me” as the contingency and emergency elements of his PACE plan. That was the last thing he remembered.

To read the remainder of this chapter and learn more about Stewart’s life and the events before and after those described above, order the book, Three Days In August: A U.S. Army Special Forces Soldier’s Fight For Military Justice. It’s available in paperback and ebook at Amazon.com.

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August and THE CLAPPER MEMO. To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August and THE CLAPPER MEMO. To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

Keep Political Correctness Out of Military Justice System

The last thing the military needs is for more political correctness to be injected into the military justice system, but that seems to be what’s happening, according to a Military.com article published today:

Congress has floated a bill that would take ruling authority away from commanders in sexual assault cases and hand it over to an independent panel.

The bill comes as Pentagon leaders scramble to tackle a rising number of sexual assault cases spreading through the military. In 2011, servicemembers filed over 3,000 sexual assaults reports.

While I’m all in favor of prosecuting cases of sexual assault against women in the military, the quest by prosecutors to meet artificially-set goals for successful prosecutions has resulted in an emphasis being placed on the prosecution of male soldiers even when no evidence or eyewitnesses can be produced!

As evidence of this, I point to the case of Army Green Beret Sgt. 1st Class Kelly A. Stewart, the man whose life story and wrongful conviction are the subject of my book, Three Days In August: A U.S. Army Special Forces Soldier’s Fight For Military Justice.

Read the reviews.

During the first two days of his court-martial on sexual assault and kidnapping charges, prosecutors presented no physical evidence and/or eyewitnesses to the alleged crimes.  Instead, their case was based almost entirely on the testimony of the accuser, a one-time mental patient who, with the backing of the German government, refused to allow her medical records to be entered as evidence.  As a result, members of the court-martial panel found Stewart guilty on several counts and sentenced him, among other things, to eight years in prison and branded him a sex offender.

Based on extensive interviews and never-before-published details taken from the actual Record of Trial, Three Days In August paints a portrait of military justice gone awry that’s certain to make your blood boil.

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August and THE CLAPPER MEMO. To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August and THE CLAPPER MEMO. To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

Three Days In August is available in paperback and ebook via most online booksellers, including Amazon.com.

Lawyer: 90 Percent of Military Sexual Assault Cases Would Be Thrown Out of Civilian Courts Due to Lack of Evidence

In a Military.com article published Aug. 13, military defense lawyer Michael Waddington estimated that 90 percent of the sexual assault cases taken to court-martial would be thrown out of civilian courts due to lack of evidence.  Unfortunately, the attorney’s estimate offers little solace to Kelly A. Stewart, a highly-decorated Army Green Beret and combat veteran who faces the burden of living the rest of his life as a convicted sex offender if military justice continues to elude him.

Waddington’s words stand as one of several excerpts particularly relevant to the case of Stewart, a man whose life and wrongful conviction are chronicled in my book, Three Days In August:  A U.S. Army Special Forces Soldier’s Fight For Military Justice.

Unfortunately for Stewart, his case was not thrown out.  In fact, as described below, quite the opposite happened:

An elite Green Beret, U.S. Army Sergeant First Class Kelly A. Stewart admitted in court to having a one-night stand with a 28-year-old German woman.  His accuser did, too.  But that’s where the similarities end in their accounts of what transpired inside his Stuttgart hotel room.

Kelly A. Stewart

One year later, the highly-decorated combat veteran found himself on trial, facing a slew of charges — including rape and kidnapping — that could send him to prison for life.  His court-martial had begun.

During the first two days of the trial, prosecutors presented no physical evidence and/or eyewitnesses to the alleged crimes.  Instead, their case was based almost entirely on the testimony of the accuser, a one-time mental patient who, with the backing of the German government, refused to allow her medical records to be entered as evidence.

At 15 minutes before midnight on the trial’s second day, Stewart was found guilty on several counts and the court was adjourned.  The following morning, he was sentenced to eight years behind bars at Fort Leavenworth and branded a “sex offender” for life.

Kelly A. Stewart

Ten months into his sentence, Stewart was flown back to Germany for a post-trial hearing during which the new witnesses revealed that Stewart’s accuser had lied several times during the trial.  While their words were largely ignored by the military judge, they were not entirely ignored by the one-star general with authority over the case.

Three months later, the general took five years off of Stewart’s sentence and, among other things, made him eligible for parole immediately.  In Army terms, “immediately” meant he was released March 31, 2011.

Kelly A. Stewart

Stewart spent the next 18 months working in a family member’s business on the East Coast and fighting unsuccessfully for a new trial.  Then, on Aug. 20, 2012, his sentence ended and, technically, he became free.

To date, Stewart’s further attempts to get a new trial or some other form of clemency from the military justice system have failed, leaving him with only one level of appeal — the Court of Appeals of the Armed Forces — remaining.  If justice continues to elude him, he’ll carry the “sex offender” label forever.

Based on extensive interviews and never-before-published details taken from the actual Record of Trial, Three Days In August: A U.S. Army Special Forces Soldier’s Fight for Military Justice paints a portrait of military justice gone awry that’s certain to make your blood boil.

Click to Order

Read it, and you won’t believe this kind of justice can happen to someone who, prior to being accused of crimes by a former mental patient, had an unblemished record and stood among the best of the best as one of the world’s most-elite warriors.

Three Days In August is available in paperback and ebook via most online booksellers, including Amazon.com.

To contribute to his legal defense fund, visit http://SaveThisSoldier.com.

CORRECTION 9/19/2012 at 8:38 a.m. Central:  I mistakenly attributed comments from the Military.com article in the first two paragraphs above to Philip Cave.  It has been corrected.

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August and THE CLAPPER MEMO. To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August and THE CLAPPER MEMO. To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

Some Guys Have All the Luck

A former Air Force officer, I’ve always been under the impression that military officers lead by example and be held to a higher standard than enlisted people.  If or when officers fail, they should be punished more severely than their enlisted counterparts.  And then I read this article about Army Col. James Johnson III.

Col. James Johnson III

As commander of the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, he was not only entrusted with the welfare of thousands of soldiers and their families, but also with millions of dollars worth of resources, including cold, hard cash while members of the unit were deployed to Iraq.  He violated that trust, according to the article, by engaging in a pattern of fraudulent activities that could have cost the U.S. government more than $580,000.  And, oh yeah, he committed adultery, wrongful cohabitation and bigamy with an Iraqi woman who was not his wife (duh!).

What did the West Point graduate get for his bad behavior?  A reprimand, a $300,000 fine and the prospect of spending five years behind bars if he fails to pay the fine.

Considering the alternatives, I’d say his future looks relatively bright.  He was NOT dismissed from the Army, NOT sentenced to forfeit pay and allowances, NOT required to spend any time behind bars AND he gets to keep his full military retirement!  Not bad.  Some guys have all the luck!

Sgt. 1st Class Kelly A. Stewart

And then there’s the case of Green Beret Sgt. 1st Class Kelly A. Stewart, the soldier whose life and wrongful conviction are chronicled in my book, Three Days In August: A U.S. Army Special Forces Soldier’s Fight For Military Justice.

Though he admitted to having a consensual one-night stand with a German woman inside his Stuttgart hotel room in August 2008, he faced a court-martial panel one year later, was convicted of a variety of sexual offenses and sentenced to eight years behind bars at the U.S. Military Disciplinary Barracks at Fort Leavenworth, Kan.  And that’s not all!

He was also stripped of his Special Forces tab, reduced in rank to private, ordered discharged from the Army upon completion of his sentence and — last, but not least — branded with the “sex offender” label for the rest of the life if military justice continues to elude him via the appeals process.

Most disturbing about this highly-decorated combat veteran’s conviction is that it came despite a complete lack of any physical evidence, despite a complete lack of eyewitnesses to the alleged crimes and only after his accuser — supported by German government officials — refused to provide the court with copies of her medical records that would have shown she had a history of mental illness.

Based on extensive interviews and never-before-published details taken from the actual Record of Trial, Three Days in August paints a portrait of military justice gone awry that’s certain to make your blood boil.

After you order a copy of Three Days In August, please click on this link to learn more about my upcoming second nonfiction book, THE CLAPPER MEMO. It, too, will make your blood boil  Thanks in advance!

Green Beret Never Thought He’d Be Going to Prison

Three years ago this month, Green Beret Sgt. 1st Class Kelly A. Stewart found himself under the microscope of an Article 32 investigation with Army officials purportedly trying to determine whether charges — including rape and kidnapping, among others — alleged against him warranted any legal action.

Sgt. 1st Class Kelly Stewart

It was during this hearing, similar to a preliminary hearing in the civilian world, that the highly-decorated combat veteran learned for the first time the identity of his accuser — a then-28-year-old German woman with whom he had had a one-night stand nine months earlier inside his room at the Stuttgart-Marriott Hotel.

Embarrassed that it was taking place, Stewart attended the hearing accompanied only by his lawyers, Captain Oren Gleich and civilian attorney David Court.  On the other side of the room, his accuser was accompanied only by her mother and the German state prosecutor.

Though he knew the charges alone had the potential to ruin his career, Stewart didn’t think he would be going to prison. After all, he had done none of the things she alleged him to have done.

If you’re wondering, at this point, how this story turned out, you can find all of the details are in my book, Three Days In August: A U.S. Army Special Forces Soldier’s Fight For Military Justice.  It’s available in paperback and ebook via most online booksellers, including Amazon.com.

EDITOR’S NOTE:  Also, be sure to check out details of my next book, THE CLAPPER MEMO, set for release this fall.  It connects the dots between the deaths of dozens of Americans at the hands of our so-called “allies” in Afghanistan and a memo signed by James R. Clapper Jr., the man who now serves as Director of National Intelligence, our nation’s highest intelligence position.

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August and THE CLAPPER MEMO. To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August and THE CLAPPER MEMO. To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

Army Judge Violates Soldier’s Constitutional Rights

EDITOR’S NOTE:  Slightly modified for stand-alone publication, the excerpt (below) from my book, Three Days In August: A U.S. Army Special Forces Soldier’s Fight For Military Justice, provides graphic details of then-Army Sgt. 1st Class Kelly A. Stewart‘s time on the run after being wrongfully-convicted of a number of sexual offenses by a U.S. Army court-martial panel in Germany during three days in August 2009.

Kelly Stewart returns from a mission in Iraq.

Prior to the start of the trial, attorneys for both sides met with Judge Kuhfahl in conference to discuss whether or not the subject of accuser Heinrich’s medical records from a lengthy stay at a mental institution in 2004 could be raised during the trial.

“We do not want them talking about this mental institution, that Helga was there, or that the victim stayed in that mental institution,” said Captain O’Malley, trying to convince Judge Kuhfahl to side with the government. “We do not believe that’s relevant to any of the charges about where they met or that they stayed in an institution in 2004 or 2005, under the facts of this case.”

Who is Helga? Helga Gowar is a woman Heinrich met during her four-month stay in a mental institution where both were patients in 2004.

“We have no knowledge beyond what we were told by the victim as to the reason for that stay,” Court countered on Stewart’s behalf.

“We believe that her mental state is always in issue. We believe that her response to stress, which is apparently her stated reason for going to that institution, is in issue here.”

Unfortunately for Stewart, Heinrich invoked her rights under German law to not disclose her medical records. Likewise, the German government refused to release copies of Heinrich’s medical records and spelled out the reasons for their decision in a
letter:

Due to other obligations we are unable to exercise the right to observe the court-martial on 18 and 19 August 2009 in Vilseck.

Your request to obtain the treatment records of Klinik Christophsbad, Faurndauer Strasse 6-28, 73035 Goeppingen for the victim Greta J. Heinrich in the years 2004 and 2005 by court-order cannot be granted.

Even if you assume, with the dominant opinion, that there is no prohibition of seizure, in accordance with section 97, paragraph 1 German Trial Procedural Code (StPO), then, under the given circumstances, forcible access of Health Records by procedural methods against the will of the victim, would have to be considered, under general maxims, in violation of the principle of proportionality in a special sensitive area of the private sphere.

In the absence of a (currently missing) concrete claim of evidence and basis in fact, such an action would only serve the non-permissible purpose of baseless inquiry of the victim and the hoped for discovery of relevant circumstances (see Federal Supreme Court Decision NStZ 1997, 562).

The fact that the trial was taking place in a U.S. military court based upon U.S. law (i.e., the Uniform Code of Military Justice) seemed not to matter to Judge Kuhfahl.

Asked by Judge Kuhfahl why they objected to the prospect of him allowing the defense to ask Heinrich why she was refusing to turn over her medical records, Captain O’Malley said, “There’s no relevance shown by that at all, Your Honor.”

Conversely, Court argued that the question “goes to candor with the tribunal” and said, “She has obviously got something that she wishes to withhold, and without that question, the panel will not have that impression of her; will think that she has been candid and told us everything, and that is not true.”

Judge Kuhfahl ruled as follows, saying, “The court does not find that there’s any matter of consequence that that question would address, indicating anything is more or less probable in this case; therefore, the government objection is sustained, and I’m not going
to allow that question.”

Stewart and his attorneys were stumped by the military judge’s ruling.

“It’s my Constitutional right to have all evidence looked at, or all items looked at, by a judge,” Stewart said. “Nothing becomes evidence until the judge deems it as evidence, but a judge still has to review it to determine whether it’s evidence or not.

“If the judge chooses not to look at a particular item to determine whether it’s evidence or not, then he’s violated my Constitutional rights,” Stewart explained, reiterating that Judge Kuhfahl had failed him by not petitioning or subpoenaing Heinrich’s medical records.

“He would still determine whether those records were relevant or not, whether they would be admissible or not—that’s still up to him,” Stewart explained. “If I’m saying there was possible evidence there, he has to protect my rights as the accused to look at that to
determine whether it is or isn’t.

“He didn’t do that,” Stewart said. “That’s where he violated my rights.”

Panel members never got to hear about Heinrich’s stay in a mental institution. They only got to hear from Heinrich that she was there as a victim of burnout. A major victory for the
government.

“There was never a discussion about what Greta was in (the mental institution) for,” Stewart said. “She testified that she was only in for simple ‘burnout,’ but she would never provide her medical records (and) the jurors never got to know that.

“If I was a juror,” Stewart said, “and I found out that this chick was saying that someone had raped her, that she had spent time in a mental institution… and now she’s saying that this American service member…is being accused of rape, it would add a shadow of doubt in my mind and any normal person’s mind.”

More details about the events leading up to and following Stewart’s court-martial can be found in the book, Three Days In August.  It’s available in paperback and ebook via most online booksellers, including Amazon.com.

Accuser’s Strange Definition of ‘Contact’ Highlighted in Book About Green Beret’s Conviction

The definition of the word, contact, should have been a major issue at Army Special Forces Sgt. 1st Class Kelly A. Stewart‘s court-martial at a U.S. Army post in Germany during three days in August 2009.  Unfortunately, the military judge overseeing the case thought otherwise.

Sgt. 1st Class Kelly A. Stewart

On Aug. 19, 2009, SFC Stewart was convicted of multiple offenses based almost entirely on the testimony of his accuser, a 29-year-old German woman with whom he admitted having a one-night stand a year earlier.

During pre-sentencing testimony the following day, Sgt. 1st Class Kelly A. Stewart‘s accuser — whose real name is not shown below — was cross-examined by Capt. Greg O’Malley, assistant trial counsel.  Below are excerpts from their exchange:

Q. Ms. Heinrich, as you know, Sergeant First Class Stewart has been found guilty of several offenses against you. How have these offenses that he has been found guilty of affected you?
A. I am very scared.

Q. Scared of what?
A. I am scared. I am scared to be with people. I am scared of men and scared of soldiers.

Q. Why are you scared to be with people?
A. I have to think the whole time that you are not able to see–you know, look at people and see to what they are capable of doing.

Q. How has this affected you regarding men?
A. I have no contacts to men anymore.

Q. Why not?
A. Because I couldn’t bear it if something like that happened to me again.

Q. Have you been engaged in any dating relationships with any men since this attack?
A. No.

Several questions required the accuser to explain how her relationships with soldiers had changed, then the prosecution’s questioning turned to her social life in general:

Q. Has your social life changed as a result of these attacks?
A. Yes.

Q. How so?
A. I was always with people a lot of times, but that’s not this way anymore. I now spend a lot of time alone or with friends.

Q. Why do you spend so much time alone?
A. At home because that’s where I feel safe–safer.

Q. Have your sleeping–your ability to sleep been affected by the actions of Sergeant First Class Stewart?
A. I dream of him every night.

Q. How has that affected you?
A. I at the most sleep three hours a night.

Q. Is that because of the dreams you have regarding Sergeant Stewart?
A. Yes.

SFC Stewart returns from a mission in Iraq.

More questions followed about how she said she felt after the alleged attacks and how it had changed her habits, then the prosecution’s questioning returned to how she felt about being around men:

Q. How do you feel when a man looks at you with interest?

CIVILIAN DEFENSE COUNSEL: Objection, calls for speculation as to whether the man is looking at her with interest.

MILITARY JUDGE: Overruled.

A. Most of the time I can’t bear it if men look at me.

Q. How do you react?
A. Either really harsh verbally, you know, so I–so that they leave me or I’m leaving the situation.

During a post-trial Article 39(a) hearing (a.k.a., “DuBay Hearing”) nine months later, the defense had an opportunity to present new evidence and/or testimony before the court.  During that hearing, SFC Stewart’s accuser was questioned by the military judge, Major Charles Kuhfahl, about statements she had made during the aforementioned pre-sentencing testimony.

Several of the military judge’s questions were related to the accuser’s admission that she had sexual intercourse with a male teacher during the month prior to the court-martial — and to her definition of the word, contact.  An excerpt from that exchange appears below:

Q. Okay. When asked why you have no contacts with men you said, “I couldn’t bear it if something like that happened to me again.”
A. Correct.

Q. Do you remember making that response?
A. Yes, I do remember.

Q. Now, the incident that you testified to related to Sergeant Stewart, that was a one-night stand, correct?

INTERPRETER: I’m sorry, sir.

Q. The incident that you testified to regarding Sergeant Stewart was also a one-night stand.
A. Yes, correct.

Q. And the incident you testified to earlier about the teacher was a one-night stand.
A. Yes, from my point it was a one-night stand, but the teacher wanted a relationship. I didn’t.

Q. But you only had sex with him on one occasion.
A. Yes, correct, one time.

Q. And that was about a month prior to your testimony in August.
A. Yes, correct, it was in July.

Q. Did you not consider what had occurred with the teacher as contact with men?
A. We didn’t see each other for a longer period of time and it was not a relationship or partnership with this person.

Q. So when you said, “I have no contact to men,” are you saying you were defining “contact” as “relationship”?
A. I understood it to be relationship because during the daily course of life I always have contact with other men.

Q. You stated at the previous hearing that you had not engaged in any dating relationships since the attack.
A.
  Yes.

Q. Was that true?
A. Yes, that’s correct.

[Pause.]

A. I did tell the teacher at the time what had happened to me because the teacher wanted a relationship with me and I did try to restart my life again and so I tried it, but I just couldn’t.

Q. Prior to the trial in August, did anybody ever ask you whether you had had sexual intercourse with someone after the attack?

INTERPRETER: I’m sorry, sir. Can you repeat the question again?

Q. Prior to testifying in August 2009, did anyone associated with the trial ask you if you had had sexual intercourse since the attack?
A. I don’t recall that anybody had asked me that.  It would have been after and not before.

Q. Did you ever voluntarily disclose to anyone associated with the trial that you had had sex with this teacher prior to the hearing?

INTERPRETER: Prior to?

Q. Prior to the hearing in August of 2009.
A. Yes.

A short time later, the accuser fielded more questions from the military judge, including the following:

Q. Did you think that the jury would think poorly of you if they knew you had sexual intercourse a month before the trial?
A. Yes, correct.

Eventually, the military judge asked her questions about a curious statement she had made during pre-sentencing phase:

Q. When you were asked a question about not having contact–or excuse me, when you made the statement that you had no contact with men anymore, did the incident with the teacher run through your mind?
A. Yes.

Q. Did you intentionally not mention that because you didn’t want the jury to think poorly of you?
A. No, I did not intentionally suppress that. I just was afraid that nobody would believe me.

Q. What do you mean you’re afraid nobody would believe you?
A. I mean by that I was afraid that nothing would happen to that man after he had done those things to me. I was so afraid that nobody would respect what I had to go through the entire year–nobody would understand what had happened to me.

Q. So you were afraid that the jury would not punish Sergeant Stewart if they knew about the sex with the teacher?
A. Well, the situation was very, very difficult for me.  I don’t really know exactly what I thought in detail at the time, but the whole situation was very, very difficult for me.

When the military judge had finished questioning the accuser, he asked if either the prosecution or the defense had any more questions.  Only the civilian defense counsel did, and he asked a single question:

Q. Ms. Heinrich, did you also have sexual contact with a very tall black guest at your pension? [Note:  "Pension" is the German word for "bed and breakfast."]

The assistant trial counsel objected to the question but was overruled by the military judge, and the accuser was told to answer the question.

The accuser’s answer to that question and how others familiar with the case interpret the word, contact — or “contakt” in German — can be found inside the book, Three Days In August: A U.S. Army Special Forces Soldier’s Fight For Military Justice.  It’s available in paperback and ebook via most online booksellers, including Amazon.com.

Prosecutor Wanted Green Beret to Discuss ‘Secret Squirrel’ Stuff in Open Court

On Day Two of his court-martial, Army Special Forces Sgt. 1st Class Kelly A. Stewart faced substantial grilling by the Army prosecutor who seemed to want him to discuss classified matters in open court.

Below are excerpts from the book, Three Days In August: A U.S. Army Special Forces Soldier’s Fight for Military Justice, in which Bob McCarty chronicles the combat veteran’s toughest battle ever:

“They just wanted me to admit that I spoke German, that I am trained in all this ‘secret squirrel’ stuff to beat and interrogate people and everything else,” Stewart said, noting that it’s a facade and that Green Beret professionals like himself are trusted to do national-level stuff for the president of our country on a daily basis.

“The one thing I wouldn’t say in there was… a lie. I told the truth (in response) to the questions that were asked of me.”

What if he had answered all of their questions in open court?

Kelly Stewart

“If I had went up there and said, in a statement, that we do some type of training like, ‘We do free fall blindfolded, you know, to work on the psychological aspects of the mind…’ that reporter that I knew was in the courtroom… what would that person have written in the Stars & Stripes?”

More blow-by-blow details of Stewart’s testimony appear in the book, Three Days In August.  It’s available in paperback and ebook via most online booksellers, including Amazon.com.

Army Prosecutor Cites Wikipedia as Source During Green Beret’s Court-Martial

On Day Two of the court-martial of U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Kelly A. Stewart, a prosecution attorney cited a questionable and suspect source as he questioned the Green Beret about his training.  See if you can spot the source in the excerpt from the Record of Trial that appears below:

TC:  At the SERE course you’re taught how to resist violent captors, is that correct?
Stewart:  Again, sir, unless I’m authorized by the SOCEUR Public Affairs Officer, I can’t discuss the training that I received at the SERE-level C School.

TC:  You’re taught how to resist torture?
Stewart:  Again, sir–

TC:  We’re going to go through this, so, that’s fine–
Stewart:  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.

TC:  I got this off of Wikipedia.com.

[Legend:  SERE = Survive, Evade, Resist and Escape; TC = Trial Counsel; SOCEUR = Special Operations Command Europe; CDC = Civilian Defense Counsel; and MJ = Military Judge.]

That’s right!  He said, “I got this off of Wikipedia.com.”  Unbelievable!

How would you feel if you were found guilty by a court-martial panel that sided with a prosecutor who cited Wikipedia as a source during your cross-examination?

Find out how Stewart feels about his conviction in the book, Three Days In August: A U.S. Army Special Forces Soldier’s Fight For Military Justice, by Bob McCarty.  It’s available in paperback and ebook via most online booksellers, including Amazon.com.

Court-Martial Verdict Changes SF Soldier’s Life Forever

After enduring two long days as the defendant in a high-profile court-martial, Special Forces Sgt. 1st Class Kelly A. Stewart walked out of an Army courtroom in Germany, knowing his life would never be the same.  Below is an excerpt from the soon-to-be-published book, Three Days In August: A U.S. Army Special Forces Soldier’s Fight for Military Justice, by Bob McCarty about what the highly-decorated combat veteran and Green Beret did next:

SFC Kelly A. Stewart“So, they find me guilty. It’s late at night. In an instant, my whole life got flushed right down the toilet,” said Stewart, recalling the verdict that changed his life just before midnight on August 19,  2009. “I am smart enough to know that my life is screwed. The rest of my life. No matter what. My life is done.

“Clearly, I felt that I was shafted, and I knew there was no way to fix it,” he explained. “This is an analogy I use. It might come across as messed up, but this is my analogy, and this is why I chose to do what I did.

“I was not going to have everybody do prison time with me,” said Stewart, recalling his thoughts after a court-martial panel found him guilty of sex crimes against a German woman and handed down a sentence that included a reduction in rank, from E-7 to E-1, forfeiture of all pay and allowances, eight years of confinement and a recommendation for dishonorable discharge upon release.

“I wasn’t going to go to prison and have my kids have to go through having their dad in prison and my wife having to stand by my side and go without a husband for years—and, at that time, I didn’t know the length of the years,” said Stewart, a Special Forces combat medic and Level One-trained sniper.  “I didn’t know the length of my sentence; I just knew that I was found guilty.”

That’s when he made a decision.

Find out what decision he made in the book, Three Days In August, by Bob McCarty.

Three Days In August is available in paperback and ebook via most online booksellers, including Amazon.com.