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View Diary: 60 troops fired after military record checks turn up sexual assault, other convictions (183 comments)

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  •  No, because they only screened (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RainyDay

    a small number of specialty positions, right? Drill sargents, recruiters, etc.  

    And the screens were set up to only catch completed civilian prosecutions.

    The vast majority of crimes by members of the military are prosecuted by the military under UCMJ, the Uniformed Code of Military Justice.

    Here's how their approach works. Don't investigate complaints, or don't bother prosecuting the complaints you have, then screen only against actual convictions in civilian courts.

    Am I mistaken? They didn't screen all the airmen, all the marines, all the infantryman, all the mess hall, all the hospital, etc.

    "They did not succeed in taking away our voice" - Angelique Kidjo - Opening the Lightning In a Bottle concert at Radio City Music Hall in New York City - 2003

    by LilithGardener on Fri Aug 02, 2013 at 10:04:17 PM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  I'm saying that... (0+ / 0-)

      ...they did this screening for particular positions of trust, notably those in which NCOs have specific responsibilities for the care of recruits.  That's why they screened recruiters, drill instructors and sexual assault counselors.  It's a preemptive process, to weed out potential problem cases.

      Yes, I'd say that a 99% success rate in those particular positions of trust is a Good Thing (tm).  It is completely separate from the issues you describe, which won't be dealt with through a mere records review.

      The word "parent" is supposed to be a VERB, people...

      by wesmorgan1 on Fri Aug 02, 2013 at 10:20:56 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Nope, you're still missing it (0+ / 0-)

        civilian legal actions against a person get put on hold when a person goes into the military.

        The civilian court actually has to wait until the person is discharged.

        First the person has to join and become trained in some specialty. Then after at least one and often two successful tours they can apply to become one of those specialties. Then they go through training for that specialty job.

        Except for minor traffic violations, all these mid career people should have had ZERO convictions that the military didn't know about.

        These suspensions were blatant screw ups because commanders in charge of Recruiting and Training, never bothered to check the civilian backgrounds of people who applied to become promoted one of those specialty positions.

        "They did not succeed in taking away our voice" - Angelique Kidjo - Opening the Lightning In a Bottle concert at Radio City Music Hall in New York City - 2003

        by LilithGardener on Fri Aug 02, 2013 at 10:31:41 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Reference, please? (0+ / 0-)

          To the best of my knowledge, civilian legal actions are NOT automatically "put on hold" because someone joins the military.  Heck, they aren't even "put on hold" DURING military service.   (One of the 'frequently asked questions' on the DoD's OneSource site is "how to deal with a DUI ON or OFF post," and it explicitly states that civilian courts have precedence for off-post DUIs.)  There are jurisdictional issues that determine which authority takes precedence in a given case, but  I am not aware of any automatic deferment of civilian authority, especially where pre-enlistment matters are concerned.

          (I believe that there are certain civilian legal actions that cannot be taken against soldiers DEPLOYED to a combat zone, but even that is not all-encompassing, and it does not apply to soldiers on duty outside a combat zone.)

          It may be true that civilian prosectuors CHOOSE to do such things, but it is not mandated by any law or regulation of which I am aware.  

          If you have specific evidence of a blanket rule, law or regulation, I'd greatly appreciate a reference.

          The word "parent" is supposed to be a VERB, people...

          by wesmorgan1 on Fri Aug 02, 2013 at 11:18:11 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Service Members Civil Relief Act (0+ / 0-)

            This law firm has a nice summary.

            http://www.maclaw.com/...

            It's changed a bit in recent years, so my recollection was a little bit off. It covers things like divorce, financial disputes, and so. But no, you can't run off and join the military to skip out on child support.

            If you Google, "civil suit against active duty military" you'll find more references to look at.

            Here's the promotion guidelines for the army. How fast someone can get promoted depends on many factors, including what specialty they train in, and staffing needs. Staffing needs for particular jobs depends heavily on how many people in that specialty and at their rank are eligible for promotion compared to how many open slots their are. The later depends on people either getting killed or non re-enlisting.

            http://www.apd.army.mil/...

            The jobs selected for review (mentioned in the diary) are all very competitive jobs, coveted by people who plan to make a career in the military. They are non-combat roles and don't suffer casualties. They are stepping stones to future leadership roles.

            I hope that clarifies where my comments were coming from.

            Traffic actions are prosecuted locally; DUIs are traffic violations. As far as I know all other criminal actions are prosecuted according to UCMJ.

            The offenses visible on public criminal records databases were such that would have required a waiver to even just be a cannon fodder.

            Those persons were ineligible to be promoted, and some may have lied when they enlisted in the first place.

            "They did not succeed in taking away our voice" - Angelique Kidjo - Opening the Lightning In a Bottle concert at Radio City Music Hall in New York City - 2003

            by LilithGardener on Sat Aug 03, 2013 at 01:09:03 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  You really need to do a bit more research (0+ / 0-)

              From the DoD's SCRA site:

              SCRA is a program that provides certain protections from civil actions against servicemembers who are called to Active Duty. It restricts or limits actions against these personnel in the areas of financial management, such as rental agreements, security deposits, evictions, installment contracts, credit card interest rates, mortgages, civil judicial proceedings, income tax payments, and more. From this site:
              Yes, CIVIL actions CAN be stayed, but even then it only kicks in when military duty "materially affects" the ability fo the service member to respond.  There is no automatic deferment.

              This statute does not apply to CRIMINAL actions, such as those referenced in this records review.  Please stop suggesting otherwise.

              As far as jurisdictional authority is concerned, there is NO AUTOMATIC DEFERENCE TO UCMJ PROCEEDINGS if the alleged crime is committed in a civilian jurisdiction.  In fact, double jeopardy doesn't apply to UCMJ/State jurisdictional bounaries; one can most certainly face a court martial AND a State trial for the same offense.  Yes, the two systems usually work together and decide which will handle the case, but (again) THERE IS NO DEFAULT DEFERENCE TO MILITARY JUSTICE IF THE STATE WANTS TO PROSECUTE.  

              PLEASE don't spread incorrect information.  You're making lots of assumptions with no basis in fact.

              The word "parent" is supposed to be a VERB, people...

              by wesmorgan1 on Sat Aug 03, 2013 at 09:24:29 AM PDT

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              •  Stop it - why are you shilling for this (0+ / 0-)

                absurd military fuck up?

                Any of the offenses screened for would have meant demotion or administrative discharge AT BEST. None of those people should have ever been promoted into those positions.

                NONE - but you want to twist that as "no big deal."

                Get off your diversion track. You can site DOD all you want. It's obvious why that's your preferred tactic instead of reporting what really happens, and what's required to get promoted into competitive jobs where you don't ever have to wonder if the road is going to blow up.

                "They did not succeed in taking away our voice" - Angelique Kidjo - Opening the Lightning In a Bottle concert at Radio City Music Hall in New York City - 2003

                by LilithGardener on Sat Aug 03, 2013 at 09:40:41 AM PDT

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                •  The more significant question might be this... (0+ / 0-)

                  On what planet does a review that shows clean records for MORE THAN 99% of the soldiers currently assigned as recruiters, drill sergeants, and sexual assault counselors become, and I quote, an "absurd military fuck up"?

                  No one--not the Army, not DoD, and certainly not me--is claiming this to be any sort of closure or resolution to the problem.  This is, however, an essential part of the process in that the military needs to ensure, as best it can, that soldiers in these 'positions of trust' are the best-qualified soldiers available.  None of us can predict the future, of course--every criminal starts with a clean record, right?--but this kind of assessment is one of the best steps the military can take to tighten the reins.

                  Injecting fact into the discussion is hardly a "diversion track."

                  By the way, career recruiters (Career Counselor, MOS 79S) DO deploy with their assigned units.  Drill sergeants were specifically deployed to both Iraq and Afghanistan to train home forces in those countries.  In addition, the normal rotation in/out of recruiter and drill sergeant duty has NOT changed, so soldiers moving out of those duties were just as likely to deploy as was any other soldier.  You seem to have this notion that being assigned as a recruiter, drill sergeant or sexual assault counselor is some sort of gravy-train, never-ever-deploy-again golden ring, but that isn't the case.

                  The word "parent" is supposed to be a VERB, people...

                  by wesmorgan1 on Sat Aug 03, 2013 at 12:11:51 PM PDT

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                  •  Keep digging (0+ / 0-)

                    As if recruiters and recruiters are escorting supply convoys up and down the highway from Kuwait.

                    You persist in missing the point, so I'll respectfully stop bothering your full head about it.

                    There are no doubt a large number of excellent people in those positions. It's a fuck up because the number should have been zero. Not nearly zero. Zero. These folks who got fired weren't in a grey area, they were far on one side of a bright black/white line.

                    The absurdity is that it took instructions from the fucking secretary of defense before each branch even did the most simple check of serious offenses.

                    "They did not succeed in taking away our voice" - Angelique Kidjo - Opening the Lightning In a Bottle concert at Radio City Music Hall in New York City - 2003

                    by LilithGardener on Sat Aug 03, 2013 at 12:26:38 PM PDT

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                    •  So, the perfection fallacy after all. (0+ / 0-)

                      The absurdity is that a 99.8% success rate gets translated into "even did the most simple check of serious offfenses."

                      Yes, zero is the theoretical goal, but if you expect perfection, you'll always be disappointed - and nothing will ever meet your standards.  "Due diligence" is a question of reasonable effort, not perfection.

                      There's also the point (mentioned several times) that this was also done retroactively, particularly where alcohol-related offenses are concerned.  When these folks were originally selected, those offense weren't disqualifying, so it wasn't that they "weren't checked," but rather that the check didn't result in a disqualification at that time.  Now they've raised the bar, and are going back to see if anyone fails under the NEW standards.   That doesn't mean that the folks doing the original selection screwed up at all; it only means that the rules changed.

                      I'm in complete agreement that those folks with records of child abuse or sexual assault should NEVER had been selected for those duties - but they represent a number even smaller than that reported.

                      Even under the new qualifications, 99.8% of those reviewed passed; that's a pretty good result in my book.

                      The word "parent" is supposed to be a VERB, people...

                      by wesmorgan1 on Sat Aug 03, 2013 at 02:24:03 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  You are still missing the fucking point (0+ / 0-)

                        I don't expect perfection, all the time, every time. That's why any good screen for promotion to sensitive and public positions, positions of great responsibility should have back ups.

                        The problem, is that the military didn't bother to check, at all, ever. They are late, years late, to even fucking start doing what should have been part of an annual review, and MOST CERTAINLY should have been done as part of any  promotional review.

                        The military hadn't even bothered to look. The first time, not the second time, not the third, fourth, or fifth time it should have looked at this.

                        Now they have picked off the easiest pieces of the lowest hanging fruit. But only the most obviously rotten ones.

                        No reason to be impressed.

                        "They did not succeed in taking away our voice" - Angelique Kidjo - Opening the Lightning In a Bottle concert at Radio City Music Hall in New York City - 2003

                        by LilithGardener on Sat Aug 03, 2013 at 02:39:14 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                      •  This is your problem right here (0+ / 0-)

                        It's a definitional problem.

                        "Due diligence" is a question of reasonable effort, not perfection.
                        You consider it reasonable due diligence that the simple check of public records had never been done before on these 26,000 people.

                        What you fail to recognize is that this review was likely not perfect, and if they repeat the whole review, they might actually have to fire another 50 people.

                        Failing to look is not due diligence.

                        "They did not succeed in taking away our voice" - Angelique Kidjo - Opening the Lightning In a Bottle concert at Radio City Music Hall in New York City - 2003

                        by LilithGardener on Sat Aug 03, 2013 at 02:42:44 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  My gosh, you're intent on being wrong. (0+ / 0-)

                          Those folks WERE screened--IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE QUALIFICATIONS IN PLACE AT THE TIME.  

                          This was a REVIEW process with NEW STANDARDS, especially where alcohol-related offenses were concerned.  (Yes, I checked the qualifications.)

                          (A DUI, incidentally, is NOT cause for automatic discipline, demotion or separation, as you incorrectly asserted earlier.  I'll beat you to it this time - YOU SHOW ME where it is...)

                          It's to be expected that people who "passed' under one set of qualifications might "fail" under a new, tougher set of qualifications.  

                          The word "parent" is supposed to be a VERB, people...

                          by wesmorgan1 on Sat Aug 03, 2013 at 04:18:10 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  Keep distorting, keep minimizing (0+ / 0-)
                            The Army has suspended 55 soldiers, according to figures compiled through mid-July, said George Wright, an Army spokesman. In all, it is looking at 20,000 recruiters, sexual-assault counselors and drill instructors and expects to have completed its screening by Oct. 1. More suspensions could occur as the review continues.
                            You falsely calculate a success rate for a review that isn't even finished.

                            You interpret:

                            it is looking at 20,000
                            As a statement that only 55 problems were found in a screen of 20,000. And you insult your reader further by promoting the nonsensical idea that it means 20,000-55 = x have completely clean records.

                            Look, this shit, and the denials, dismissals, the cover ups, the not bothering to look, the "it wasn't part of the protocol" shit has been going for decades. I see nothing to suggest that anything has changed since the Tailhook scandal. IIRC, they also had multiple sexual assault investigators in that scandal who harassed and propositioned the victims, instead of taking their complaints seriously.

                            The marines check a couple thousand people against the sex offender registry and found no matches. I'm sorry but that zero does not impress. What is impressive is that this is apparently a brand new idea.

                            It's impressive none of our top brass ever thought to do that before. And apparently aren't necessarily even going to do it now. It's the easiest thing to check! And it only catches the tiniest tip of an iceberg, it only identifies the most serious offenders who were fully prosecuted, as opposed to charged and who were able to plead out to a lesser charge that allowed them to escape reporting to the sex offender registry.

                            Look. I don't blame you personally. I don't know anything about you, and will assume you are doing the best you can in a deeply flawed system.

                            You made valiant attempts to attack my arguments, made of the top of my head. I'll allow this not something I spend much time researching. You are the relative expert here.  You've amply demonstrated the business principle that the fish rots from the head.

                            The excuses you offer, and the logic "it wasn't part of protocol at the time" is frankly outrageous, especially if it's true. And I'll accept your word on that.

                            I'm sure there are tens of thousands of honorable people, such as yourself, who have no power to do anything about the problem. People who are doing their job, year in, year out, following protocol, and that's that.

                            "They did not succeed in taking away our voice" - Angelique Kidjo - Opening the Lightning In a Bottle concert at Radio City Music Hall in New York City - 2003

                            by LilithGardener on Sat Aug 03, 2013 at 04:53:25 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

              •  Go ahead and prove your claim by (0+ / 0-)

                citing any cases you know of where a active duty member of the military was convicted in a criminal court for the offenses listed in the diary.

                Or link to any cases where an active duty member of the military was was charged for a more serious offense and plead guilty to one of the offenses listed in the diary.

                Or site to any member of the Reserves or National Guard who committed a criminal offense, and was charged, convicted or plead down, before they re-enlisted for active duty.

                If you can't do that - you can't back up your claim.

                I stand by my assertion that the offenses are serious and none of them were given any waiver for them. Except for traffic, the odds are extremely high that the crimes occurred before they were promoted, and before they were in the service.

                If the traffic crimes occurred after they were already in the military and they failed to disclose that to their commanding officer, I'm certain they violated provisions of the UCMJ.Some supervisors and commanders in the personnel division should be fired for failing to do THEIR MINIMUM JOB.

                "They did not succeed in taking away our voice" - Angelique Kidjo - Opening the Lightning In a Bottle concert at Radio City Music Hall in New York City - 2003

                by LilithGardener on Sat Aug 03, 2013 at 09:49:51 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I give up. (0+ / 0-)

                  You're obviously uninterested in any information that contradicts your preconceived notions.

                  The word "parent" is supposed to be a VERB, people...

                  by wesmorgan1 on Sat Aug 03, 2013 at 12:13:21 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  No citations, huh? (0+ / 0-)

                    They don't have to be perfect citations, just some examples of what you claim. Approximate examples will do just fine.

                    "They did not succeed in taking away our voice" - Angelique Kidjo - Opening the Lightning In a Bottle concert at Radio City Music Hall in New York City - 2003

                    by LilithGardener on Sat Aug 03, 2013 at 12:27:49 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  OK, sure, if you insist... (0+ / 0-)

                      Two cases, 30 years apart, should do the trick...

                      1985: State arrests a soldier for murder while he is in the FT Benning stockade on a different charge.  He was tried and convicted in state court.  Conviction later overturned.  (Source: NYTimes)

                      2012: Former soldier loses last appeal (to SCOTUS) concerning his court-martial sentence.  Here's the relevant part of the story:

                      He was convicted in state court in 1986 but won an appeal and was acquitted in a second trial three years later. He finished out his service in the Army and retired to Washington state.
                      Note that he was on active duty, was still tried in civilian courts, then returned to active duty after his acquittal.  He was court-martialed after new DNA evidence linked him to the original crime. (Source: WRAL)

                      For what it's worth, lawyers.com explicitly states:

                      If a crime violates both military and state civilian law, it may be tried by a military court, a civilian court or both. Usually the two systems will coordinate to decide where the service member should be prosecuted. A military member can't be tried for the same misconduct by both a military court and another federal court. He can be tried for the same misconduct by both a military court and a state court.
                      ...which is what I described as "jurisdictional issues" in my earlier comments.

                      The word "parent" is supposed to be a VERB, people...

                      by wesmorgan1 on Sat Aug 03, 2013 at 02:03:41 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Good, now show me where the military didn't (0+ / 0-)

                        care, and these people were not only retained at their same rank or that they were subsequently promoted.

                        It doesn't matter - the military has a right to know about it, and would know about it, if they had bothered to check criminal records.

                        "They did not succeed in taking away our voice" - Angelique Kidjo - Opening the Lightning In a Bottle concert at Radio City Music Hall in New York City - 2003

                        by LilithGardener on Sat Aug 03, 2013 at 02:08:30 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Excuse me, now YOU'RE diverting... (0+ / 0-)

                          That's it - keep adding conditions.

                          At some point, it's up to YOU to prove your statements instead of demanding that others disprove them.  You know perfectly well that personnel records aren't publicly available, and that there is NO WAY to meet your last "show me" request except through massive inference.

                          Proof by assertion is not proof.

                          The word "parent" is supposed to be a VERB, people...

                          by wesmorgan1 on Sat Aug 03, 2013 at 03:33:28 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  It's simply dismantling your false premise (0+ / 0-)

                            that's all. You've built a whole tower of arguments based on a very simple false premise.

                            If you don't make a false premise there is nothing to dismantle.

                            I did the best ti could, but you can't see it, so you'll just have to think about it, or if you don't want to do that, just hide out in your towering edifice of excuses.

                            "They did not succeed in taking away our voice" - Angelique Kidjo - Opening the Lightning In a Bottle concert at Radio City Music Hall in New York City - 2003

                            by LilithGardener on Sat Aug 03, 2013 at 03:48:21 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

            •  does not apply to criminal courts (0+ / 0-)

              only to civil actions.

    •  if they were pending trial by CM (0+ / 0-)

      they would be automatically removed.

      they are usually removed for administrative actions far short of CM.

      So all that is left is completed civilian criminal actions.  Generally speaking there aren't a whole lot of those going on.

      And they do run an NCIC check on incoming recruits so yes there is some screening that goes on, of course, that is only as good as the system used, and there is no perfect, catches 100.00 percent of everyone systems that exist.

      Given we are talking about 15K people, I'd say that's a pretty good representative group of folks to suggest that the percentages aren't high.

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