A recent Pentagon study has shown that sexual assaults are on the rise in the military. As a result, those alleging sex crimes have been provided with numerous protections after Congress stepped in to remedy the problem. The statute of limitations on these military crimes has been abolished and alleged victims are now appointed an attorney. The punishments for these crimes have also been made more severe and one United States Army Non-Commissioned Officer is facing20 years for military sex crimes.
United States Army Staff Sergeant Angel M. Sanchez was accused of sexually assaulting a number of women while at the 14th Military Police Brigade at Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri and on tour in Afghanistan. Before the court martial began, he pleaded guilty to having sexual relations with three female service members and in exchange some the charges against him were dismissed. After three days of proceedings, Sanchez was found not guilty of a number of charges but was found guilty of others, including sexual assault and harassment of multiple women. Prosecutors accused Sanchez of using his superior rank to manipulate and control these victims. A few of Sanchez’s victims testified at the court-martial and claimed serious emotional harm as a result of the sexual assault. Even with cross examination shedding light on issues relating to their credibility, they were believed enough for a conviction. In total, Sanchez was convicted of four counts of sexual assault and six counts of abusive sexual contact.
Sanchez has yet to be sentenced and publicly apologized to his victims at the end of his court martial. Prosecutors asked for 25 years imprisonment to punish Sanchez for his crimes and defense counsel requested 8 years. The judge recommended 20 years, which still has to be approved by the General Court Martial Convening Authority..
Military charges, including sexual assault, can have very serious consequences such as lengthy imprisonment, discharge from military service and registration as a sex offender. With new changes in the law approved by Congress becoming effective in 2014, it’s more important than ever to be represented by an experienced military defense attorney. If you are suspected of a military crime and believe that a court martial might be in your future, it is in your best interest to seek the advice of an experienced attorney as soon as possible. Whether you are in Colorado Springs, Denver, Fort Hood, Korea, Afghanistan or anywhere else worldwide, our attorneys are ready to travel to your location and represent you. Call Elkus, Sisson & Rosenstein at (303)567-7981 for a free consultation today.