Marine Subject to General Court Martial for a Kiss

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Recent pressure from military leaders and even the President may have led to the pending sexual assault prosecution of a Marine.  Military leaders and President Obama have urged the armed forces to prosecute sexual assault cases to the fullest extent of the law and to get convictions.  Some think that these pressures are causing officials to take things too far.

A Marine, Corporal Andie Arado, is facing up to seven years confinement if convicted of sexual assault for allegedly kissing another Marine’s wife.  The incident occurred at a house party in the woman’s home near Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort in South Carolina in 2013.  The woman claims that she went to bed early that evening and woke up to a kiss from Arado.  She also claims that Arado left when he heard her husband calling out to her.  Interestingly, she testified that she never saw who was kissing her because her eyes were closed as she was pretending to sleep.  She admits to identifying Arado based on his accent alone and that the individual did not touch any other parts of her body.  She also refused to participate in the military investigation.  Arado maintains that he was looking for the bathroom when he ended up in the bedroom by mistake and that he never saw the woman in the room.

After a military investigation, officers recommended a special court martial, which is very similar to prosecution for a civilian misdemeanor charge.  The recommendation was not followed and supervising officers who instead decided to prosecute Arado for sexual assault in a general court martial.  Now attorneys for Arado are claiming that the political pressures surrounding military sexual assault are the cause of the unfair prosecution.  They note that some officers have suffered career consequences when straying from the unofficial policy and that these incidents may have encouraged supervising officers to prosecute Arado in this way.

Attorney Ryan Coward is experienced in the specialized area of court martial law.  If you or someone you know is in need of legal representation at a court martial proceeding, contact us at (303)567-7981 for a free consultation. 

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