When I was in command, I had a sergeant once who I was convinced was going to end up on to Catch a Predator one day. He came up on a local records check for being involved in a sexual assault on a 14 year old girl 3 yrs prior in Colorado.
I said wait what? Called my command lawyer. What can I do with this. Legal response: nothing without the actual paperwork to see if he was titled or charged.
So I set about trying to get the paperwork from Colorado. Get it - bad news. He was never even questioned bc after the initial report, the victims family refused to talk to police further.
Legal tells me there’s nothing I can do. I do a memorandum for record and put it in my desk drawer. Fast forward, him and his wife start having problems and she starts telling everyone in the company that he’s sending inappropriate emails to his 16 year old cousin.
I tell my PL get something - anything in writing and I call the lawyer with copies of the emails. Lawyer reads them and says nothing that meets the standard of anything I can charge him with. Being a creep isn’t in the UCMJ
So I counsel him - telling him the age of consent and that these kinds of emails aren’t appropriate to send to family members (that was a SUPER fun session). But there’s nothing there. So I wait.
We finally catch his ass with his feet on the dash of his truck, not shaven and smoking in front of the III Corps headquarters (this was in the days of CSM Coleman when entire chains of command would be at parade test outside his office at night)
I’ve been keeping my BN CDR informed and we go straight for a field grade. In addition to the seriously Springer show shit with his wife where I had to give the whole platoon a no contact order to stop her from spreading rumors, he was just a marginal NCO at best.
So we bust him to E4. I’m all ok, we’ve got a packet started. He screws up again, I can chapter him, right? Nope. He appeals. And since the legal team wouldn’t let me put all the creepy stuff in the packet all brigade saw was him being insufficient to counseled on how to NCO
They gave him his rank back. I tried to get this guy. I failed. Last time I checked a few years ago, he was still in the Army. I don’t know if he ever went after another kid but he had a pattern.
Another case - NCO slept with direct report - she reported him. we got the investigation done. Came back found but here’s the bad news - lawyer said the odds of getting a conviction on this guy were super low. Better to give art 15 and chapter - which I did.
Another case: SSG who’d gotten caught by the feds sending child porn. He admitted to it after he was caught. Court martial takes place. 2 officers in my battalion - another company commander and XO - testified on his behalf that he was a good soldier and they’d serve w him again.
(Side note: that became the driving force for my dissertation: how could people turn a blind eye to harm like child porn?)
But the bigger issue: 2 officers vouched for this guy. Bc they’d served down range with him. Blamed it on PTSD (to which I say fuck that - I am so tired of ptsd being used to an excuse for every horrible impulse).
He’d gotten moved to my company bc the other commander wasn’t pushing the court martial. My BN CDR wasn’t having it.
I tell these stories bc there are some of us who tried but the legal system said there wasn’t enough evidence. There are thousands of stories where someone has patterns of behavior that run right up to the edge but don’t cross it.
But sadly, there are plenty of cases that should be pushed that aren’t bc people see tribe before harm. And that’s why commanders are going to lose oversight of sexual assault.
I used to disagree with this. Commanders can do this. I don’t anymore. For every good commander out there trying to catch and crush these mofos, there are more who will turn a blind eye, leaving someone else to get hurt.
What I’m wondering though: what other systemic issues are there going to be along with removing from the chain of command? Bc here’s the other small problem: someone beats a court martial charge? You (and the army) are stuck with them.
Commanders won’t usually push for a court martial unless their legal team is pretty confident they can get a conviction.

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