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Monday, February 03, 2014

Civilian Court-Martial Defense Lawyers: A Mother’s Suggestion to Protect her Son from False Rape/Sexual Assault Allegations – Get a Confirmation Text

Military Criminal Defense Lawyer (Former JAG Attorney) News:  

Take note Congress and the Military…a prominent, intelligent, accomplished, professional woman, and mother, recognizes that, particularly in the context of alcohol, a young man can be FALSELY accused of rape and/or sexual assault!

And, she offers some very smart advice:  Get a confirmation text from the woman showing that she agrees to have sex before proceeding.  Smart advice, but, at the same time, very sad that we are in a time where young men have to resort to written sex contracts in order to protect themselves from criminal allegations.   

Roxanne Jones is a founding editor of “ESPN The Magazine” and a former vice president at ESPN. She is a national lecturer on sports, entertainment and women's topics and a recipient of the 2010 Woman of the Year award from Women in Sports and Events.  Her insightful CNN editorial can be found here:

In her editorial, she makes excellent points that are so true for our young military men.  She states:

“It seems nearly every week, we hear news stories about sexual encounters at parties where everyone is drinking -- and a young woman says she was raped, and a young man insists the encounter was consensual.”

“…too often when heavy drinking is involved, the meaning of consent can be misconstrued on both sides.”

(When sending her son off to college) “In my case, I filled my son's duffel bag with about 300 condoms and told him watch out for party girls.”

“Never have sex with a girl unless she's sent you a text that proves the sexual relationship is consensual beforehand. And it's a good idea to even follow up any sexual encounter with a tasteful text message saying how you both enjoyed being with one another -- even if you never plan on hooking up again.”

“Parents need to step up. I'm doing my part, raising a son to respect women and himself by talking to him about how to navigate the freedom that comes with college life…But we need to do more work to teach our daughters that women also have an equal personal responsibility to respect their bodies. And true equality means that we are also held accountable for our actions.”

While hers wasn't an editorial about the military justice system, Ms. Jones' points certainly apply to the military, where rape and sexual assault allegations (UCMJ Article 120) arising from young adults engaging in alcohol fueled sexual encounters are pouring in – particularly because military populations continue to be incorrectly briefed that a woman cannot consent to sex if she has been drinking (without explaining the legal and cognitive nuances that an intoxicated person CAN consent to sex, unless that person is “substantially incapacitated” and, therefore, unable to understand and consent). 

The military continues to teach the opposite of what Ms. Jones says:  “Women should be accountable for their actions.”  Instead, the military preaches no accountability.  If a military woman drinks alcohol and drives a car, the military has no problem holding her accountable.  But, if she drinks alcohol and has sex with a guy, the military tells her she has no accountability and is automatically a victim.  So, when morning after regrets occur, those briefings feed into the psychological gears turning a regrettable hookup into a rape/sexual assault court-martial trial. 

In fact, when Air Force Chief of Staff General Mark Welsh testified to Congress that increased military allegations of rape and sexual assault could be contributed to by a “hook up culture,” he was forced to go on a public apology tour to appease the zealots who bristle at the suggestion that a rape/sexual assault allegation could be anything but clear cut.  Reason and common sense have long since been abandoned when it comes to allegations of rape and sexual assault in the military.  Instead of frank and mature discussions about alcohol and sex and consent, the military has resorted to the extreme message to cater to the PR machine:  alcohol + sex = rape…

…even though that’s NOT the legal or mental reality of the situation. 

In this oppressive military justice environment, the pressure to convict our young military men, send them to prison, and destroy their futures is coming from the very top of our government.  I encourage all young men in the military to take Ms. Jones’ advice and, at least, get confirmation texts.      

For other blog posts on this topic, please enter “rape” or “sexual assault” in the search box above. 

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By: Attorney Richard V. Stevens
Civilian criminal defense lawyer and military defense lawyer
Military Defense Law Offices of Richard V. Stevens, PC

Blog postscript:  Defense attorney Frank Spinner and defense attorney Richard Stevens are civilian court-martial defense lawyers and former active duty military defense lawyers (JAG).  The perspectives in this blog, therefore, are based on their experience as military defense attorneys and as civilian criminal defense lawyers practicing exclusively in the area of military law.  This blog addresses issues in military law, military justice, military discipline, military trial defense and appellate defense, court-martial defense practice, the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) and other military and/or legal topics.  Nothing posted in this blog should be substituted for legal advice in any particular case.  If you seek legal advice for a particular case, please contact the Military Defense Law Offices of Richard V. Stevens and the Law Office of Frank Spinner for a free initial consultation.  Our military defense law offices are located in Northern Florida (Pensacola, Ft Walton, Destin, Eglin AFB, Hurlburt Field, Duke Field areas) and Colorado Springs, Colorado respectively, but our military defense law practices are worldwide – we travel to wherever our clients are stationed or need us.


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