On June 28th, the Daily Caller published my Editorial; “A Travesty of Justice: Collateral Charges in Military Sexual Assault Cases .”
I described the routine practice; as Defense Secretary Ash Carter proudly proclaimed, of charging those, facing allegations of sexual misconduct with “collateral” offenses, to ensure and guarantee a conviction of some minor offense, in the event, the accused is acquitted of any sexual misconduct charge.
As has been the practice for some years now, it is no secret that a servicewoman who is merely accused of some type of sexual misconduct will face a court-martial. It doesn’t matter if the allegation is true or not, and any and all military law enforcement investigative effort is made with the sole purpose of building a case for prosecution. Absent is the concept of determining the truth. No effort, nor expense will be spared to find that “dirt” on the accused, or in some cases, manufacturing that “dirt.”
I routinely hear horror stories of military law enforcement agents going back into an accused’s background, 20 years or more, contacting any and all persons that the accused may have had some relationship with, to see if incriminating evidence can be found to assist in the prosecution effort. In many cases, false and misleading information is intentionally presented to these individuals to get them to provide potentially damning information. If the person provides information supportive of the accused, either the interview is not documented, or the information is glossed over and paraphrased, giving it little to no significance.
Routinely, these military L.E. agents will tell these persons; “So and so has been charged with rape and we need your help getting a rapist off the street.” They will “inform” the individual of the transitional compensation program available to them that is usually in the amount of approximately $250,000 doled out for about four years. If the person is a current or former service member, in addition to the transitional compensation program, they further “inform” the potential victim of obtaining Veteran’s Administration benefits for a claim of PTSD due to “Military Sexual Trauma (MST).” Claim benefits range from 50 to 100% and in most cases, result in monthly payments that hover around $3,000 – $4,000 per month for life or more, plus lifetime medical and psychological treatment.
No proof of an actual assault is required to obtain VA PTSD benefits due to MST. A simple life disruption, such as anxiety, depression, marital problems, or a divorce is all that is needed to file a claim. Although a few claims are denied and challenged; for the most part, they are almost always approved. The VA websites contain all necessary information to petition for and receive these benefits, and can be found with the click of a mouse.
Consequently, there is and has been a great financial incentive for making false allegations of sexual misconduct.
Financial incentives, divorce, personality disorders, revenge, regret, and covering for one’s own misconduct are the usual garden variety reasons for filing false sexual misconduct allegations. Although there have been a handful of scenarios where sanctions were imposed for making false claims and committing perjury, there is little chance that an accuser; even if their fabrications are exposed, that they will not face any punishment whatsoever.
Case in point. In early 2015, The Naval Criminal Investigation Service began an investigation involving Marine Major Chantell Higgins, who at the time was serving as a regional special victims’ counsel in Okinawa Japan. The investigation surrounded Major Higgins instruction to an alleged sexual assault victim to destroy information on his personal cell phone that was detrimental to the alleged victim, but apparently beneficial to the accused.
To date, it does not appear that Major Higgins was sanctioned in any manner and all attempts by reporters for the Marine Corps Times trying to gain further information or obtain a statement from Major Higgins were unsuccessful. No other information has been available as to the outcome of the affected case.
So if the military is even unwilling to sanction a prosecutor for obstruction of justice for destroying evidence in a sexual assault case, in which recoverable electronic evidence would unequivocally prove misconduct, what makes anyone think that a false accuser would be held accountable?
It appears that Major Higgins was reinstated to full duty status in January 2011.
As a result of my Daily Caller article, the number of emails I have received have been staggering, most with a common request; “please help us.” Surprisingly, most have been from men; husbands, boyfriends, fathers, and brothers of falsely accused female service members.
In a growing number of cases, there appears to be another motive for the filing of false allegations against female service members. I will share a recent email that I received from the husband of a falsely accused female service member. The individuals wish to remain anonymous as there are still legal issues to pursue, and I have reviewed official reports, records and transcripts to authenticate the claim. I have redacted certain information to protect their identity and to prevent any compromise of future legal actions.
Subject: Regarding your article: “A Wednesday, July 20, 2016″
Dear Ms. Conzachi,
I hope this email is finding you well. I am writing to you in regard to your opinion article “A Travesty of Justice: Collateral Charges in Military Sexual Assault Cases.” This article has hit very close to home. Everything you have written has been exactly what my family has been going through for the last 2 years.
This was a quote in your article that nailed everything. “In case after case, we are seeing collateral charges being “stacked” on top of sexual misconduct charges to ensure that the accused is found guilty of “something.” The attitude seems to be, “if we can’t get you for rape, we’ll get you for not turning in that old pair of boots six years ago.”
This is EXACTLY what is happening to my wife who has been serving in the [redacted]for 17 years. She was falsely accused of sexual assault and was found guilty in the court martial setting. The accusations were coming from a [redacted] service member who prefers the same gender. He at the time, wanted to be placed with his husband. In order to do so, he accused my wife of sexual assault in hopes to be removed from the base and placed with his husband. In the meantime, he himself was being investigated with [redacted] for falsifying government documents and adultery.
This seems to be an ever-growing motivational trend for the filing of false sexual assault allegations; the objective was to be reunited with same-sex partners in a preferable duty station or assignment. To get to the duty station you want, or to be reunited with a same-sex partner; simply accuse a female of sexual assault. Problem solved.
As a result, my wife was charged without legitimate evidence with assault [redacted]. She lost her rank from an [redacted], they took money out of her pay check (along with the rank change), she does not hold the same title, ordered to be restricted on base for 2 months, and now they are trying to go through the separation board process. The man was found guilty for falsifying government documents; he received extra duty with hard labor.
To clarify; the accused initially faced allegations of sexual assault however when the evidence became overwhelming that all sexual misconduct allegations were false, the court-martial proceeded forward, and the accused was eventually found guilty of simple assault, and other minor infractions.
This another example, wherein the false accuser was not sanctioned for the filing of false allegations of sexual assault, and only when overwhelming evidence of falsifying official government documents which had been provided to civilians, to avoid a civilian financial obligation, and those civilians provided the documents to military authorities. Was the false accuser held accountable for his actions involving the fraud, but not for falsely accusing a female service member?
Sorry for the rant, however, I just wanted to say that this is so unfortunate for our service members. My family has served in the [redacted] and my wife and her family have been members of the [redacted]. It is so sad and such a shame these issues are happening to our hard working service members without a blink of an eye or even consideration by anyone.
I just wanted to say thank you for acknowledging this issue and if you have any suggestions to help make this process easier for my family I would be forever grateful.
Phone messages to the specific duty station where this occurred have not been returned.
Just as the number of wrongful prosecutions in the military has increased exponentially, the reasons, motivations, and financial incentives have also increased.
Currently, it can be safe to say; that on allegations of sexual misconduct, the military is in a state of “prosecutorial frenzy.” It appears the mere hint or utterance of the word “rape,” in the military, “triggers” quivering commanders who have soiled themselves and an armada of zombie-like self-centered prosecutors, ethically void military law enforcement agents, and a host of others with titles beginning with the word “special,” all simultaneously chanting in monotones:
CONVICT! CONVICT! CONVICT! CONVICT! ARRRRRRRRR!
Just as the kangaroo courts of college campuses have made a mockery of legitimacy and logic, combined with the mandated codified evisceration of due process and constitutional rights, the same has been going on for some time in the U.S. military.
Just as the kangaroo courts of college campuses, the military sexual assault investigation, and prosecution process has metastasized into something resembling a B horror movie, where the uninfected person, running for their survival is unable to escape the blood-thirsty apocalyptic chanting mob, and finally, succumbs. Life altering events; prison, personal and financial ruin, personal reputations and friendships destroyed, a career loss or in shatters, and the loss of children are always the end result.
The actions to address this current miscarriage of military justice and the human right’s abuses that routinely occur would mirror Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s 1973 Samizdat book The Gulag Archipelago. Her book laid out the history of the Soviet Gulag between 1918 and 1956 and described the constant oppression that the authorities engaged in to eliminate debate and political opposition.
Haven’t we already seen similar Gulag style tactics in these kinds of cases in our own U.S. military, and amongst some of our Pentagon and political leaders?
In today’s military, those who are falsely accused of sexual misconduct, no longer have hope or faith in the process but are in despair. The knowledge and hopelessness that by a mere accusation, their lives, as they know it, are over.
No one; neither I nor any other women’s human rights advocate; woman or man, is going to deny that actual sexual assaults occur, and when they do and are fairly investigated and prosecuted, then those violators should and must be punished in accordance with applicable laws.
But’s that’s not what is happening. The false and misleading political narrative of the “epidemic” of sexual assault in the military must be reinforced at any and all costs and by any means necessary. To satisfy the blood-lusts of the hysteric sexual assault cottage industry; convictions; heads on a platter; is THEE ultimate goal; again, at any and all costs and by any means necessary.
The case example described in the above email is just a drop in the barrel.
Anyone with the cognitive quotient of three above plant life is able to distinguish and identify the difference between a valid complaint of sexual misconduct, and one that on its obvious face is wrought with fraud and motivated by personal vendettas. Having said that, then logic would presume that most of those who are making these decisions to prosecute fraudulent cases, do in fact have the cognitive quotient of three above plant life.
Either that or they are part of the same fraud.