Air Force Searching for Missing Airman Facing Court Martial for Sex Abuse

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What is the protocol if a service member disappears with a pending court martial?

One of the worst ways to exacerbate an otherwise manageable situation is to abscond while under pending U.S. court martial. Not only will the military work overtime to locate a fugitive, it will tack on severe additional penalties to address the defendant’s decision to flee. 

In June 2015, the U.S. Air Force announced it was diligently searching for an airman accused of multiple counts of sexual abuse under the military’s penal code. According to reports, the military was set to conduct a court martial on Monday, June 8 to determine whether Technical Sgt. David Helm was guilty of sexual assault, sexual abuse of a child, simple assault and indecent photographing of the private area of another person without consent. However, Helm has been missing since May 29, at which time he informed other airmen of his intention to travel to Tennessee to visit his family. 

Penalties issued by the military after a fugitive absconds can be especially severe – sometimes more serious than the penalty for the original misconduct.. Failure to appear for a court martial is considered a crime in and of itself, and usually results in immediate remand, additional fines, penalties and increased jail time.  In addition, there are various laws in place to address this situation, on both the state and federal levels and in other countries that have extradition policies with the United States. Fleeing from a pending court martial is a very serious offense and those accused of a violation of the military penal code are best served by appearing and defending themselves against any pending charges. To do otherwise almost always ensures that the service member will face more dire consequences. 

If you are facing a pending court martial and are nervous about what to expect, the safest option is to speak to an experienced and reputable court martial attorney today. For more information or to set up a consultation, please contact Elkus, Sisson & Rosenstein in Denver and Colorado Springs, Colorado today: 719-247-3111. 

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