Air Force Charges Victim in Her Own Rape

This news item made my stomach turn: Cassandra Hernandez, a female Air Force airman was raped, reported her attack and then subsequently became a court-martial defendant, herself.
The story goes down like this: Hernandez was at a party, where she was drinking. She says that three male airman raped her. She went to the hospital and filed a report accusing her attackers. Due to stress and harsh interrogation tactics by the Air Force, she eventually refused to testify against the airmen.
The Air Force then charged her with underage drinking (of which she admits to being guilty, but that’s hardly the point, now is it?) and, along with her three attackers, “indecent acts.” I had a hell of a lot of trouble finding an official definition for “indecent acts,” and the best one I came up with is a “form of immorality relating to sexual impurity which is not only grossly vulgar, obscene, and repugnant to common propriety, but tends to excite lust and deprave the morals with respect to sexual relations.” Someone correct me if I’m wrong, but the basic translation seems to be “a sexual act, particularly one that is not generally accepted in society, such as sex with multiple partners.”
So. The woman was raped. By three men. She reported her rape. She was harassed by her superiors, to the point where she became too afraid to testify. The Air Force took this as meaning that the sex was therefore consensual (which isn’t what it means at all), and charged her in the case of her own rape. If she loses her case, she could be publicly registered as a sex offender.
Sounds like it couldn’t get any worse, right? But it does. How? The three alleged attackers were offered sexual assault immunity to testify against Hernandez on the indecent acts charge. Having at least half a brain cell among them, they accepted.
Hernandez is writing to her congresspeople and her Governor, Rick Perry, in a desperate plea to end this madness. Once you finish throwing up, crying, breaking things, etc., I strongly suggest that you write, too.
IMPORTANT CORRECTION: Apparently, the correct action to take is to write directly to YOUR congresspersons. You can find the information to write to your Representative here, and the information to write to your Senators here. It is a good idea to include one of the links to articles about the case, so that they know specifically what you are referring to.

Join the Conversation

  • jennao

    ok — i am a Canadian — and i would love to help — does anyone know what I could do?? i might make a video blog about this on youtube

  • jennao

    ok — i am a Canadian — and i would love to help — does anyone know what I could do?? i might make a video blog about this on youtube

  • jennao

    ok — i am a Canadian — and i would love to help — does anyone know what I could do?? i might make a video blog about this on youtube
    does anyone have any other ideas?

  • jennao

    ok — i am a Canadian — and i would love to help — does anyone know what I could do?? i might make a video blog about this on youtube
    does anyone have any other ideas?

  • jennao

    ok — i am a Canadian — and i would love to help — does anyone know what I could do?? i might make a video blog about this on youtube
    does anyone have any other ideas?

  • http://lifeaftergonzales.blogspot.com Elise

    Check out the details of the Duke case if you are interested. The recantation on its own was not overly compelling. However, that combined with the conflicting stories, DNA evidence, alibis, witness accounts (even the second dancer called her story “a crock�), numerous problems with the ID process (including an inability to ID any attackers during most of the presentations), and more should be enough to convince any reasonable person that the accuser was lying.

    One possible interpretation, certainly. But it could also be interpreted as the woman’s colleague knowing the world of shit she’d be in if she corroborated the story. Appearing unable to identify someone in a lineup is also not, in itself, proof of lying. It’s the easiest way to end a case that one initiated when one fears retaliation. None of these things is inconsistent with a victim of violent crime who is afraid of what the perpetrator or his friends might do if the case goes forward.

  • SarahMC

    So you weren’t saying that women shouldn’t be drafted ’cause it’s too risky for them to serve with men? Why don’t you clear that up for me, Oenophile.

  • http://lifeaftergonzales.blogspot.com Elise

    So you weren’t saying that women shouldn’t be drafted ’cause it’s too risky for them to serve with men? Why don’t you clear that up for me, Oenophile.

    What’s the point? If you point out that what she says includes offensive underlying assumptions and glosses over key realities, you’re “nit picking”. If you disagree with her philosophically on some point, you’re almost certain to hear a suggestion that you up your Midol dose. If everyone understands what she says to mean the same absurd thing, then somehow we’re the problem, not her apparent inability to express herself clearly/anger at being called on her shit. The only time you won’t be accused of anything or have your words blatantly mischaracterised is when she considers you to be in complete agreement with her.

  • Roxie

    So you weren’t saying that women shouldn’t be drafted ’cause it’s too risky for them to serve with men? Why don’t you clear that up for me, Oenophile.

    To be honest, Oenophile, that’s how it came off to me and I’m pretty new around here. I don’t think SarahMC has the reading problem here.

  • http://journals.aol.com/redwall33/TheMindofGenevieve UneFemmePlusCourageuse

    I wrote to my Senator (Sherrod Brown of Ohio). Hopefully something will happen.

  • manda

    kid_icarus, thanks so much for your letter. I’ve sent it on to my Senators – Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker.

  • KTRComix

    Wait.. the “indecent acts” thing is confusing me. By the definition you found, would that mean orgies are illegal? That couldn’t be possible.

  • http://www.ivaw.org ArmyVetJen

    I’ll try not to post three times this time…..
    The military has a completely different set of laws, UCMJ, that hold service members to “a higher standard”.
    Oral sex is illegal (between straight AND gay) adultry is illegal and a whole host of other things.
    The tricky part is when does it get enforced?
    In this case it looks as though its getting enforced to punish this woman. When it is enforced is up to your commanders discretion, just like Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is.
    This leaves the military open to personal opinion and not a set standard throughout.
    Once again, one more reason for peole to know the truth about the military BEFORE they get recruited.
    War Resisters League along with SWAN (Service Womens Action Network) have a great brouchure out for women who are thinking of joining the military.

  • http://www.ivaw.org ArmyVetJen

    I’ll try not to post three times this time…..
    The military has a completely different set of laws, UCMJ, that hold service members to “a higher standard”.
    Oral sex is illegal (between straight AND gay) adultry is illegal and a whole host of other things.
    The tricky part is when does it get enforced?
    In this case it looks as though its getting enforced to punish this women. When it is enforced is up to your commanders discretion, just like Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is.
    This leaves the military open to personal opinion and not a set standard throughout.
    Once again, one more reason for peole to know the truth about the military BEFORE they get recruited.
    War Resisters League along with SWAN (Service Womens Action Network) have a great brouchure out for women who are thinking of joining the military.

  • SarahMC

    Why aren’t the men (alleged rapists) being charged with indecent acts as well?

  • http://moderatelyinsane.blogspot.com Sailorman

    Sarah: Because the charges are optional. The state doesn’t NEED to charge anyone. The men have been given the opportunity to turn state’s witness in exchange for immunity.
    FWIW, if the woman had elected to pursue charges, the reverse would probably be true. Then, she would be the state’s witness, and she would be offered immunity in exchange for testimony.
    This is working out to be an unusually bizarre case, especially given the flipped sides. Either (1) the people who are making the decisions are very, very screwed up, or (2) there are some very unusual facts that none of us know about.

  • noname

    Elise – When they dropped the case, the AG said she still wanted to proceed.

  • Mushroom

    It does seem highly suspect that of four people who allegedly committed “indecent acts”, only the woman is being charged, but I’m reluctant to comment any further on this particular case without knowing all the facts.
    I’m curious about marle and oenophile’s contention that false rape allegations are rare. Does anyone have a source for this? 5 minutes of Googling turned up one study, which found at least 41% of allegations in one small town were false.
    I also found a mention of the 2% figure which claimed it was often quoted but poorly sourced.
    None of this has much bearing on Hernandez or any one particular case, as each must be tried on its merits. However, the claim is often made that false accusations are rare compared to genuine ones, and this needs to be backed up. If it’s not true, asserting it repeatedly will do no good to genuine rape victims, as it will damage the credibility of those who believe their claims.

  • Mushroom

    It does seem highly suspect that of four people who allegedly committed “indecent acts”, only the woman is being charged, but I’m reluctant to comment any further on this particular case without knowing all the facts.
    I’m curious about marle and oenophile’s contention that false rape allegations are rare. Does anyone have a source for this? 5 minutes of Googling turned up one study, which found at least 41% of allegations in one small town were false.
    I also found a mention of the 2% figure which claimed it was often quoted but poorly sourced.
    None of this has much bearing on Hernandez or any one particular case, as each must be tried on its merits. However, the claim is often made that false accusations are rare compared to genuine ones, and this needs to be backed up. If it’s not true, asserting it repeatedly will do no good to genuine rape victims, as it will damage the credibility of those who believe their claims.

  • Mushroom

    Apologies for double post. The site hanged and didn’t appear to have posted.

  • http://www.ivaw.org ArmyVetJen

    Once again, the military is a completely different animal. Look up figures for the military, look up Suzanne Swift, look up Levena Johnson, Pfc. Tina M. Priest both who died under “mysterious” circumstances. They are not the only two.
    There is no “state” in the military and there is even more pressure to just shut up and drive on.

  • Mushroom

    Was that in reply to my post SgtHogg? The military’s different in many ways, but I think most of the claims on this thread of rare false rape were referring to civvie life or civilian and military. I’ve tried to look up figures for the military too, I found one study mentioned online, of the US air force in 1985, which found that 27% of allegations were eventually admitted false, and there was strong evidence that the true figure was 65%. I couldn’t find the original study, “falserape.net” claims it was buried and the author reassigned.
    I had a quick look at the names you mentioned, they sound like tragic cases but don’t tell us anything about the frequency of false rape allegations so I’d rather not get sidetracked with them.
    Again, I’d ask anyone with evidence that false rape charges are rare to post it. Everything I’ve found in a cursory search of the internet suggests they are about as common as genuine allegations. None of this diminishes the seriousness of rape; rather it is the minimising of false allegations that will ultimately hurt rape victims and hurt feminism. This is getting away from the Hernandez case now (although discussion of that seems to have ground to a halt), maybe the bloggers here could see their way to making a separate post on this, e.g. a rebuttal of falserape.net?

  • http://www.ivaw.org ArmyVetJen

    Mushroom I think you are missing my point. It ties directly into both Hernadez and “false rape” claims.
    Look at the three cases I pointed out. I only had time to point out three so lets stick to those.
    Swift was command raped in Iraq. Reported it. Went through the chain of command and was eventually going to be REDEPLOYED to Iraq with the very same people who threatened her with missions designed to make her think she would surely die or be raped again in them. Later when she went AWOL she herself was punished, spent time in the brig and demoted. She now is serving the rest of her contract out.
    What kind of message do you think this sends to women who want to even report thier rape. It makes it look like its easier to just shut up and drive on, meaning, if you DON”T say anything you are better off.
    With Both Johnson and Priest it looks as though in one was raped and killed and one reported the rape and either was killed or killed herself. This once again is taking place in Iraq where you options run even lower for a hope of a listening ear.
    The point is that the system as a whole encourages women not to speak out and when they have the courage to do so it often works very hard to push them back to being quiet or you get what Swift did (if you are lucky) or worse you could get what Johnson did.
    Address this BEFORE you start to say there are lots of false allegations.
    I’ll be more concerned about rebutting falserape.net “facts” when they start working to highlight all the factors that go into low reporting numbers and withdrawals of testimony such as Hernadez. What some may call a false allegation can often be self protection for the accuser. Why would someone find it safer to recant then pursue charges? When this problem is taken care of I’ll look into false rape charges as a serious problem. As it stand now the statistics are tainted.
    That site can list a few guys who were falsely accused but I can list at least that many plus 10 women I know personally who have been raped both within and without the military.
    Also the site does not offer proof or a siting for many of its statistics. The study you mention is by Mcdowell, a name infamous due to a “checklist” he developed to determine if a woman is lying.
    I’ll quote it here:
    One of the campaign’s demands is an end to the use of the so-called McDowell checklist to determine whether rape reports are valid. The checklist, developed by retired Air Force Lt. Col. Charles McDowell, is made up of 57 questions that are scored with .5 to 5 points for each answer. A score of over 16 points means a woman’s rape charge is “probably false,” over 36 is “false” and over 76 is “overkill.” If a woman is having problems with her husband or boyfriend, she gets three points. Financial problems earn one point. Even “demanding” to be given medical treatment by a female earns her a point.
    “There is no way any rape victim can pass this test,” said Mackey. Considering the seeming irrelevance and bias of the questions, it is not surprising that the McDowell checklist turns up a 60 percent incidence of “false” rape reports, compared to a national average of about eight percent (according to FBI numbers).
    http://www.november.org/stayinfo/breaking2/RapeNation.html
    *When was the last time you heard about a robbery with no witnesses besides the two involved and thought: “hmm, I wonder if they are lying”.*

  • Mushroom

    Thanks for your detailed reply SgtHogg. I had missed your point, although you also seem to have missed mine. If what you say about those three cases is true, it’s horrifying and paints an appalling picture of life in the military. I could well believe that in the McDowell study, some of the 27% of recanted allegations were genuine rapes in which the victim was intimidated into saying she was lying. Whether it was probably only a few or all of them, we have no way of knowing.
    Falserape.net mentioned the McDowell checklist was used in the original study to obtain the 65% estimate, which I agree is questionably useful. It didn’t say, which seems to be implied by your quote, that the checklist was used in new criminal investigations – that would be extreme negligence on the part of the police if true, each case should be investigated on its own, and I would certainly support abandoning the list. However, the 27% figure was not derived using the checklist, and only included cases where the accuser later said she was lying. As I conceded, a culture of fear may have inflated this figure, but we have no way of knowing how much.
    Now, on to you missing my point. You misconstrued my claim, and did not address evidence relating to civilian cases.

    Address this BEFORE you start to say there are lots of false allegations.

    Why can’t we address both? False accusations hurt rape victims, perhaps as much as a culture of intimidation. And please note that I’m not (yet) saying “there are lots of false allegations”. I’m questioning the assertion made by several on this thread that they know false allegations to be much rarer than true ones, and pointing out that the first things you find with a bit of Googling suggest this is not the case. Google’s not a final authority, so I’d be very hesitant to say that false allegations are actually a common problem based on the evidence so far, but I would be keen to hear the opposing evidence. What I’ve found so far stacks up mainly on one side.
    Furthermore, the people claiming that accusers are rarely lying seemed to be speaking in general terms, not just about the military, so even if you are right about the armed forces, we would still need evidence for civvie street. The civilian study I linked found a higher incidence of accusers admitting to lying than McDowell, when presumably any culture of intimidation would have been less than that found among the troops.
    In answer to the rest of your points…

    I’ll be more concerned about rebutting falserape.net “facts” when they start working to highlight all the factors that go into low reporting numbers and withdrawals of testimony such as Hernadez

    Agreed, the low reporting rate is a terrible problem. But this should not blind us to the existence of other terrible problems. In fact, it makes high figures for false reporting all the more believable: the fewer genuine rapes get reported, the more likely a given report is to be false. This in turn damages the credibility of genuine victims who are able to come forward.

    What some may call a false allegation can often be self protection for the accuser. Why would someone find it safer to recant then pursue charges?

    Yes, that almost certainly happens. But how much? Again, for the sake of victims, we need to know, in order to better combat the problem. Until we know, we have reasonable grounds for suspecting, based on the studies I linked, that false charges are a significant problem, and if we cannot refute this, defendants and the media will have a better chance of undermining victims’ credibility.

    When this problem is taken care of I’ll look into false rape charges as a serious problem. As it stand now the statistics are tainted.

    The original statistics were the 2% figure quoted by others here. I’d still like to see backup for that, even if it is tainted.

    *When was the last time you heard about a robbery with no witnesses besides the two involved and thought: “hmm, I wonder if they are lying”.*

    I’m sure false robbery reports are made too, but I’m not sure it tells us anything about false rape reports.

  • http://www.ivaw.org ArmyVetJen

    Websites like falserape.net are not there to clear the air of false rape alleagations so victims of rape can stop having to face the media backlash and despicable practices in law. They are there to prove that rape allegations have a good chance of being false. They have no concern for women and men that are raped. One may use some fuzzy logic to try to distantly connect the two but the tone and drive of those sites remain the same, to discredit allegations of rape as false. I do not find these site relaiable nor much anyone who visits them as looking out for the welfare of people who have been raped.
    I’ll address both when the number of rape cases drop to the number of false allegations. In the meantime there are thousands more cases of rape and much more stigma on the rape victim than a person who is accused and then has the charges dismissed (yet not even cleared in a court of law).
    It seems as though false allegations are more of a distraction than a real phenomenon that the average man has to worry about.
    Nearly every two minutes a woman is sexually assulted.
    I don’t personally know one man that has had a false rape charge, I can’t count on two hands how many women I personally know who have been raped.
    If people cared as much about all those women actually being raped as they do for a small number of men they see in the news being so called falsely accused then we may not have the rape problems in the world that we do.
    If one needs the false robbery report analogy explained then I think they may need a few books and talks with people much more than my explanation.

  • http://moderatelyinsane.blogspot.com Sailorman

    Mushroom:
    First, go read this to understand what “false” can means in the context of rape.
    In this context, it means ‘malicious’, not ‘incorrect.’
    Now you’re ready for the next explanation:
    As far as most research has shown, maliciously false accusations represent about 2% of all accusations (not just rape).
    We have no particular reason to believe that rape accusers are any different from accusers in general. Therefore, we have no reason to believe that there are more maliciously false accusations of rape than there are for other crimes.
    ALSO, even if this was wrong, and there was a difference, the maliciously false accusations would still be a tiny minority of all accusations. If you increased the number of false accusations by 50%–which, I want to make clear again, is NOT supported by evidence–it’d still be only 3% of all accusations.
    The study you quoted is not really on point, as it’s talking about something else.
    For the purposes of the 2% statistic, an accusation is false only if the woman believes it to be false at the time of the accusation. That’s what “malicious” means.
    If the woman later is convinced that the behavior does not constitute legal rape, that does NOT make the accusation “instantly false.”
    By citing to that study, you are trying to claim that “agreeing in retrospect that you were incorrect” is equivalent to “making a malicious accusation.” That’s not true. And BTW, don’t discount the probable effect of police pressure there.
    It’s also highly edited and doesn’t appear to have been published, both of which render the quited findings highly suspect. The devil is in the details for any study, and we don’t see the details.
    Moreover, the study limits itself to women who agreed that they “were not raped”. But the missing word there, which is pretty damn crucial, is whether they agreed they they were not subjected to behavior which LEGALLY constitutes rape. I suspect this was in fact true.
    Go read the link again if you don’t get the difference. It’s a big, big difference.

  • http://moderatelyinsane.blogspot.com Sailorman

    Mushroom:
    First, go read this to understand what “false” can means in the context of rape.
    In this context, it means ‘malicious’, not ‘incorrect.’
    Now you’re ready for the next explanation:
    As far as most research has shown, maliciously false accusations represent about 2% of all accusations (not just rape).
    We have no particular reason to believe that rape accusers are any different from accusers in general. Therefore, we have no reason to believe that there are more maliciously false accusations of rape than there are for other crimes.
    ALSO, even if this was wrong, and there was a difference, the maliciously false accusations would still be a tiny minority of all accusations. If you increased the number of false accusations by 50%–which, I want to make clear again, is NOT supported by evidence–it’d still be only 3% of all accusations.
    The study you quoted is not really on point, as it’s talking about something else.
    For the purposes of the 2% statistic, an accusation is false only if the woman believes it to be false at the time of the accusation. That’s what “malicious” means.
    If the woman later is convinced that the behavior does not constitute legal rape, that does NOT make the accusation “instantly false.”
    By citing to that study, you are trying to claim that “agreeing in retrospect that you were incorrect” is equivalent to “making a malicious accusation.” That’s not true. And BTW, don’t discount the probable effect of police pressure there.
    It’s also highly edited and doesn’t appear to have been published, both of which render the quited findings highly suspect. The devil is in the details for any study, and we don’t see the details.
    Moreover, the study limits itself to women who agreed that they “were not raped”. But the missing word there, which is pretty damn crucial, is whether they agreed they they were not subjected to behavior which LEGALLY constitutes rape. I suspect this was in fact true.
    Go read the link again if you don’t get the difference. It’s a big, big difference.

  • SarahMC

    …not to mention the fact that the “true” allegations (as opposed to “false” ones) only account for a small amount of rapes that actually occur.
    Just ’cause she didn’t bring charges doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.
    I’m sure I’m not the only one who can say that none of my friends who’ve been victims of rape have brought charges.

  • http://pecunium.livejournal.com pecunium

    Joe: No matter how you try to parse it, the AF is screwing her over. Why? Because they are offering immunity to the three men. That means the AF believes they committed a violation of the UCMJ. Since they are being offered immunity from the same charges they are prosecuting her for, I assume it’s an Art 125 (sodomy) violation.
    ouyangdan: I’m an Army Staff Sergeant (petty officer 1st class, were I in the Navy) On the subject of what is/isn’t allowed (per Art 125) You are wrong.
    Penile/vaginal, and manual sex are allowed. Any position you want. What’s prohibited is oral/anal penetration, be it giving, or receiving, and any sexual contact between members of the same sex.
    ART. 125. SODOMY
    (a) Any person subject to this chapter who engages in unnatural carnal copulation with another person of the same or opposite sex or with an animal is guilty of sodomy. Penetration , however slight, is sufficient to complete the offense.

    As for your assertion here

    one more thing…
    in the military…sadly…under the UCMJ, which takes priority over civilian law, you are basically guilty until you can defend yourself out of the big shit heap you are in.

    Nonsense. 1: The UCMJ doesn’t take precedence. There are test for jurisdiction. If Airman Jones/Private Snuffy/Seaman Smith commit armed robbery of a bank off post, the civil authorities have jurisdiction.
    Some things only apply when one is on active duty (this matters to Guard members/Reserve Members, because they can’t be prosecuted under the UCMJ, for anything they do when not on Drill/ADT/ODT status. So blowjobs on drill weekends are verboten, but come 0001 hours on Monday, anything goes.
    Generally, these sections apply.
    ART. 2. PERSONS SUBJECT TO THIS CHAPTER
    (a) The following persons are subject to this chapter:
    (1) Members of a regular component of the armed forces, including those awaiting discharge after expiration of their terms of enlistment; volunteers from the time of their muster or acceptance into the armed forces; inductees from the time of their actual induction into the armed forces; and other persons lawfully called or ordered into, or to duty in or for training in the armed forces, from the dates when they are required by the terms of the call or order to obey it.
    (2) Cadets, aviation cadets, and midshipman.
    (3) Members of a reserve component while on inactive-duty training, but in the case of members of the Army National Guard of the United States or the Air National Guard of the United States only when in Federal Service.

    Secondly, the protections of the UCMJ are actually stronger than that of civil law.
    Art 31 prohibits any form of self-incrimination
    (a) No person subject to this chapter may compel any person to incriminate himself or to answer any questions the answer to which may tend to incriminate him.
    (b) No person subject to this chapter may interrogate, or request any statement from an accused or a person suspected of an offense without first informing him of the nature of the accusation and advising him that he does not have to make any statement regarding the offense of which he is accused or suspected and that any statement made by him may be used as evidence against him in a trial by court-martial.
    (c) No person subject to this chapter may compel any person to make a statement or produce evidence before any military tribunal if the statement or evidence in not material to the issue and may tend to degrade him.
    (d) No statement obtained from any person in violation of this article, or through the use of coercion, unlawful influence, or unlawful inducement may be received in evidence against him in a trial by court-martial.

    The most important difference in the UCMJ, when compared to civil law is the Art. 32 Hearing. often compared to a Grand Jury it has a huge difference.
    (a) No charge or specification may be referred to a general court-martial for trial until a through and impartial investigation of all the matters set forth therein has been made. This investigation shall include inquiry as to the truth of the matter set forth in the charges, consideration of the form of charges, and recommendation as to the disposition which should be made of the case in the interest of justice and discipline.
    (b) The accused shall be advised of the charges against him and of his right to be represented at that investigation as provided in section 838 of this title (article 38) and in regulations prescribed under that section. At that investigation full opportunity shall be given to the accused to cross-examine witnesses against him if they are available and to present anything he may desire in his own behalf, either in defense or mitigation, and the investigation officer shall examine available witnesses requested by the accused. If the charges are forwarded after the investigation, they shall be accompanied by a statement of the substance of the testimony taken on both sides and a copy thereof shall be given to the accused.
    (c) If an investigation of the subject matter of an offense has been conducted before the accused is charged with the offense, and if the accused was present at the investigation and afforded the opportunities for representation, cross-examination, and presentation prescribed in subsection (b), no further investigation of that charge is necessary under this article unless it is demanded by the accused after he is informed of the charge. A demand for further investigation entitles the accused to recall witnesses for further cross-examination and to offer any new evidence in his own behalf.

    In a grand jury the accused has no right to present evidence. The accused counsel is only allowed to give advice to the accused.
    All in all, I’d rather be guilty in front of a civil court, and innocent in a military one (assuming it wasn’t something where the politics of it make it hard to get a really fair shake. In that vein, I know some of the people who have been convicted of prisoner abuse; they got off easy. My cynical self says this is because going after them with the diligence I think the cases deserve would have caused some of that shit to roll uphill, but I digress).
    All of that said, this thing is a travesty. Ignoring the inanity of Art 125, and accepting, arguendo, that it has some validity, to say that none of the males involved are worth prosecuting, and she is… it’s retributive.
    More to the point, it’s an attempt to stifle the reporting of assaults (which is a larger problem in the AF than it want’s to admit), and that’s an abomnination. It’s a disservice to the AF, and a violation of the contract to protect the personnel in the service.

  • ouyangdan

    my apologies for not being clear. i used generalities, and that is my fault. i didn’t quote articles, and spoke vaguely.
    i did say, ‘pretty much’ any thing that wasn’t regular sex, and used missionary as a hyperbole. but then i did list the same things you did. even in the articles you cited, what i was trying to convey lined up. i did also have to witness a young girl, separated from her husband for two years, almost divorced and awaiting her final paperwork, tried for adultery when her SSgt (AF) turned her in for having a boyfriend. he saw them holding hands at the mall. she was also discharged.
    my apologies, also, when i said UCMJ takes presidence, i meant that things are considered ‘indecent’ in a military court would not seem that bad in a civilian one. many states don’t have such stringent laws regarding sodomy, oral, etc. i meant for active duty, of course, the UCMJ applies first, and, i will have to ask you now, aren’t they turned over to civilian authorities once the military is finished w/ the case? i am not sure here. i do know that w/ my shipmates, the navy has ALWAYS gotten first crack, but they have always worked alongside the civilians on serious matters.
    (on a light note, most of this was at a training command, i don’t really spend all my time w/ law breakers)
    i must have also confused a NAVY policy for being actual UCMJ. the navy’s policy on underage drinking is zero tolerance. no matter where you are stationed. this is big navy, not command, directed, and it is tried under Article 92. it doesn’t matter if you are in japan or canada, if you are US property, which as i understand it, we are, you drink at 21, and not a day sooner. i have known more people than i can count in my short(er) career who have been administratively discharged for underage drinking. it is probably since i have always worked in joint service settings, w/ the upper echelon leadership being navy, and enforcing navy policies, that i assumed it was the same among all branches. i intended to spread no nonsense.
    i apologize for any perceived exaggeration, and any misunderstanding. but that has been my training and experience thus far. thank-you for clearing a few matters up for me, though. and i am relieved to see that there are other military feminists around. i swear, i begin to feel as though i am the only one.

  • incitewxriot

    She is not being charged for sodomy. She is being charged for indecent acts. The indecent acts, it has been released, was engaging in sexual relations, while two others watched. That was from the Air Force statement.
    Also, does anyone know how to get this get case more coverage? I just wish there was more I could do.

  • incitewxriot

    For clarification, she is being court-martialed under Article 134, I believe. The military’s catchall.

  • http://pecunium.livejournal.com pecunium

    ouyangdan: Thanks for the clarification. I probably jumped too hard. I spend a lot of time hearing people (even in the service) who actually believe that the only “authorised” position is missionary. Being that I happen to really like the Army (even though I know all about its warts… in a small way I try to be a small dose of Compound W) I tend to overreact. I need to work on that.
    I’ll make a quibble. The Navy is being more command driven than the Army on drinking. If they are making a General Order that no drinking, even where it is legal, is the policy, that’s harsh.
    incitewxriot: An Art 134 case is harder to make; which is a good sign, assuming she can get a decent lawyer.
    b>ART. 134. GENERAL ARTICLE
    Though not specifically mentioned in this chapter, all disorders and neglects to the prejudice of good order and discipline in the armed forces, all conduct of a nature to bring discredit upon the armed forces, and crimes and offenses not capital, of which persons subject to this chapter may be guilty, shall be taken cognizance of by a general, special or summary court-martial, according to the nature and degree of the offense, and shall be punished at the discretion of that court.

    The underlined portion is the only grounds they have. A decent lawyer can make a case (and reasonably compelling) that, absent her being in uniform, there’s no discredit to the service, ispo facto from her being seen in public having sex.
    Further, if the only other witnesses were her fellow airmen, there is less discredit, and the argument can be made that to allow the other particpant(s) [as I don't know how many are said to have been engaged in sex with her] to testify against her, when at least one of them is, admitted, to have been engaged in conduct at least as discredititting to the AF, is something which can be brougt in. It’s likely to be tossed out, but careful timing can get it into the court’s mind.
    But the best thing is to point all of this out to Reps, and let political pressure be brought to bear. Make the case the discredit.
    TK

  • http://sskotb.blogspot.com/ Steve Savage “King of the Beasts”

    “Woman” was the last of God’s creations; therefore, since the best is always saved for last, He wanted all those who were brought forth first to welcome with Love that most precious gift to man from whom all life emanates – to care for Her, protect Her, respect Her, defend Her, because She is our Wife, our Daughter, our Sister, our Mother. The world has become a very different, often very dangerous place from the Garden of Innocence we once enjoyed. Please see to it that the Woman you love reads these “Nine Important Safety Tips for Women” in the URL which follows, and practices them through repeated visualization, until they become indelible habits that could save her life.
    http://www.invisiblepatriots.com/web2/Saftey.html
    Steve Savage
    “King of the Beasts”

  • http://sskotb.blogspot.com/ Steve Savage “King of the Beasts”

    “Woman” was the last of God’s creations; therefore, since the best is always saved for last, He wanted all those who were brought forth first to welcome with Love that most precious gift to man from whom all life emanates – to care for Her, protect Her, respect Her, defend Her, because She is our Wife, our Daughter, our Sister, our Mother. The world has become a very different, often very dangerous place from the Garden of Innocence we once enjoyed. Please see to it that the Woman you love reads these “Nine Important Safety Tips for Women” in the URL which follows, and practices them through repeated visualization, until they become indelible habits that could save her life.
    http://www.invisiblepatriots.com/web2/Saftey.html
    Steve Savage
    “King of the Beasts”

  • Roxie

    Check it!
    I sent in a letter about this to my senator, Johnny Isakson, and I got a letter reply.
    Thank you for contacting me with your inquiry regarding Cassandra Hernandez. I am forwarding your correspondence to the Department of Defense for review.

  • Mushroom

    SgtHogg – please see Sailorman’s post for an example of how to intelligently respond to the issues raised.
    Sailorman – thanks for the reply. Do you know where the 2% figure comes from for crimes in general (not just sexual assualts)? Again, the link you provided quotes the figure without evidence. I agree the malicious vs incorrect distinction is an important one, but it seems disingenuous to claim that only 2% of allegations are false when what is meant is that only 2% are malicious. “False” includes unintentionally false, and if you mean malicious, you should say so.

    SarahMC…not to mention the fact that the “true” allegations (as opposed to “false” ones) only account for a small amount of rapes that actually occur.
    Just ’cause she didn’t bring charges doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.

    Agreed. See my previous post – this could be used to argue that a given allegation is more likely to be false for rape than for other crimes.

  • http://www.stopmilitaryrape.org SOMSA

    As a survivor of military sexual assault I am not surprise that she decided not to testify. From personal experience I was told that if I “do not drop charges against my rapist that they would throw me in prison for unacceptable behavior” what is unacceptable to them? reporting a shipmate.
    I spent over a year thinking that I would be going to prison and an even longer time getting help for the emotional distress that the military put me through. I knew what happened to me but how can you fight the people who you are trained to fight for?

  • http://www.stopmilitaryrape.org SOMSA

    As a survivor of military sexual assault I am not surprise that she decided not to testify. From personal experience I was told that if I “do not drop charges against my rapist that they would throw me in prison for unacceptable behavior” what is unacceptable to them? reporting a shipmate.
    I spent over a year thinking that I would be going to prison and an even longer time getting help for the emotional distress that the military put me through. I knew what happened to me but how can you fight the people who you are trained to fight for?

  • http://www.stopmilitaryrape.org SOMSA

    As a survivor of military sexual assault I am not surprise that she decided not to testify. From personal experience I was told that if I “do not drop charges against my rapist that they would throw me in prison for unacceptable behavior” what is unacceptable to them? reporting a shipmate.
    I spent over a year thinking that I would be going to prison and an even longer time getting help for the emotional distress that the military put me through. I knew what happened to me but how can you fight the people who you are trained to fight for?

  • Roxie

    Just wanted to post an update
    http://www.airforcetimes.com/news/2007/12/airforce_ethicscomplaint_071222/
    It says two of the three where punished, but it gives no details.

    The former staff judge advocate at Pope Air Force Base, N.C., is being investigated on allegations that he behaved unethically by attempting to withhold evidence earlier this year in a sexual assault case involving four airmen at Pope, sources close to the case said. ….
    The sources said the complaint accuses Wold of telling a witness potentially favorable to the defense not to come forward to the lawyers defending Airman 1st Class Cassandra Hernandez, 20. She was charged with indecent acts and underage drinking related to a May 2006 sexual encounter in a base dorm room. ….
    Hernandez claimed she was gang-raped by three men after a party at Pope, but she was charged with committing indecent acts after declining to testify against one of her alleged assailants. Rape charges against one of the men were dropped. He and the two other men took punishment under Article 15 for indecent acts.