Can fraternal activities lead to court martial?

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Whether a Nerf gun fight that triggered “active shooter and terrorist attack hysteria” on the same day had anything to do with it, another alleged incident at the Air Force Academy resulted in the first ever criminal hazing case in the Academy’s history.

While hazing at the Academy was “officially banned” since it was founded in 1954, rituals that allegedly unfolded on the evening in question have reportedly been part of the Academy’s swim team’s tradition for many decades.

Now, two senior cadets, who were barred from graduation, may need court-martial defense attorneys depending on the outcome of their preliminary hearings. The pair, and 11 other swim team members who were not criminally charged, were reportedly suspended from the swim team in “dramatic” fashion when they were “literally pulled from the pool at the Western Athletic Conference championships and suspended from the team” just as the team was making a run for the title.

The alleged hazing ritual reportedly involved “blindfolded neophyte cadets, half-naked seniors and a threat of forced oral sex”. According to investigators, the night began with stuffing the freshman swimmers with all-you-can-eat pasta at a local chain restaurant and continued with the “chunker” ritual where they blindfolded them and took them to a remote wooded location and plied them with copious amounts of milk and foul food combinations like jello with mustard and made them run until they vomited. Thereafter, the seniors allegedly stripped before the blindfolded freshman but then reportedly pulled up their pants without any sexual acts occurring and announced it was “a gag”. A freshman later reported the alleged incident.

Investigations reportedly continue into other possible “athletic culture rituals” at the school beyond the swim team, including the lacrosse team.

Unfortunately, what cadets (and even more senior service members) may mistakenly regard as harmless fun and acceptable fraternal traditions, can cost them their military careers and benefits, their freedom, and their reputation.
If you are, or believe you might be, facing a military court martial, the experts at Elkus, Sisson & Rosenstein can help you. Contact us today for a free consultation.

From our offices in Denver and Colorado Springs, Colorado, we represent service members of all ranks, in all branches, anywhere in the world.

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