Sexual Assault and the Military
Sexual assault is a crime taken seriously by the U.S. military, and claims
of rape and sexual assault are often met with focused and intense prosecution.
The Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) provides guidelines for how
those in charge of pursuing justice should proceed if one service member
accuses another of a sexual offense, and creates the structure to enable
both prosecution and defense. Under the UCMJ, service members accused
of sexual assault could be facing severe penalties via the court-martial
process and by civilian authorities in some cases.
Sexual assault is defined as when one person commits a sexual act upon
another by threatening them, inflicting fear, causing bodily harm, using
a false pretense, or pretending to be another person. This crime also
includes unwanted sexual conduct upon an individual who is sleeping or
incapacitated. If a person is charged with aggravated sexual assault,
this implies that someone has accused them of using force or fear to commit
unwanted sexual conduct.
The court-martial process is significantly different from civilian criminal
trials, but those accused still have the right to an attorney, a right
to confront evidence and witnesses, and the right to appeal the final
decision. Typically, when the alleged victim reports the incident, the
accused’s immediate commander conducts an inquiry. The commander
must decide whether to impose administrative or non-judicial punishment
or to forward the case to a higher authority.
Military Sexual Assault Penalties
Penalties for sexual assault include dismissal and a dishonorable discharge.
Additionally, depending on the circumstances, a conviction can result
in confinement in a military prison. In extreme cases, rape convictions
could carry a lifetime sentence. Those who are discharged could also be
forced to register as a sex offender, a status that will follow them in
their civilian lives.
If a servicemember has been accused of military sexual assault, they can
seek advice outside of their military representation by contacting an
criminal defense lawyer. There are several defenses a skilled attorney could recommend, including
a lack of convincing evidence, the question of consent, and misidentification
of the assailant. Let the attorneys at
Berry Law Firm decide which tactic will fit the situation best. Our lawyers have more
than 100 years of collective legal experience to offer each case and are
dedicated to helping individuals fight against wrongful accusations.
at (402) 817-6550 or fill out our online form to schedule a case consultation today.