Unfounded Sex Assault Charges Trending Up in DoD Reports

The Center for Military Readiness has this “report.”

Air ForceGen. John Hyten, nominated to become Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has become the face of injustice done to military personnel who encounter unproved allegations of sexual assault. Accusations that cannot be substantiated are unjust and often career-ending, but they are not unusual. Annual Pentagon reports indicate that they happen all the time.

According to figures published in annual reports of the Pentagon’s Sexual Assault Prevention & Response Office (SAPRO) since FY 2009, almost one-in-four completed cases involving sexual assault have been deemed “unsubstantiated” due to “insufficient evidence” or “allegations unfounded.”

Note, that unlike you, Gen Hyten had to power and command interest to get a full OSI investigation. How often do we see something similar for the junior enlisted person? I do agree with this comment about OSI, “OSI is known for conducting thorough investigations that examine all charges in terms of evidence, not emotion. Former Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson, who oversaw the Inspector General probe and testified at the hearing said, “General Hyten was falsely accused and this matter should be set aside as you consider his nomination.””

Linda Fairstein, a former head of the sex-crimes unit of the Manhattan District Attorney’s office, commented on her experiences with unfounded claims of forcible rape:

“Having worked in this field for decades, I’ve found this phenomenon especially painful to witness. Innocent men are arrested and even imprisoned as a result of bogus claims, and the precious resources of criminal justice agencies are wasted. . . [T]hese falsehoods trivialize the experience of every rape survivor.”

Just like CMR, your military defense counsel should know that

Every allegation is different, and appearances often deceive. Certain indicators should be investigated in order to separate truthful allegations from fabricated ones. Primary motives for false reports, which are not uncommon, include:

  • Jealousy or Revenge – Classic examples occur after an affair breaks up. Emotional accounts can appear convincing, but paper trails, such as travel receipts, often belie accusations.
  • Emotional Problems/Desire for Attention – Fox News host Tucker Carlson faced this problem in 2001. A woman he had never met claimed that he had drugged her at a Kentucky restaurant and sexually assaulted her with violence. Many sleepless nights and $14,000 in legal fees later, the accuser dropped the charges.
  • Need for an Alibi – Sex crime investigator Fairstein compared alibi allegations to Pinocchio’s nose – a white lie that grows and grows. An egregious example of this occurred in the aftermath of the Navy’s Tailhook scandal. [13]Ensign Elizabeth Warnick accused two of her colleagues of gang-rape. Her accusations devastated the men’s careers, but Warnick admitted later that she had concocted the story to mislead her boyfriend about her own behavior at Tailhook. Personal conduct rules at the military service academies, which do not apply at civilian colleges, often create perverse incentives for alibi reports.

Add divorce and child custody disputes, revenge against a supervisor holding the accuser accountable for misconduct or work deficiency.