Wednesday, July 05, 2006

JUSTICE lies bleeding in the streets, while tyranny runs rampant at Coast Guard Academy!

Before cadet Webster Smith was court-martialed an Article 32 Investigation was conducted. It is the military equivalent of a grand jury. The Article 32 Investigating Officer was Commander Anderson. After hearing all of the evidence, he made a recommendation to the Convening Authority that the charge of rape NOT be referred to a General Court-martial. That was like a Grand Jury that refused to indict. It refuses to return a true bill of indictment. The District Attorney, at that point, would be foolish to waste the taxpayers' money pursuing charges that are not legally supportable and that he cannot prove. The only reason for going ahead in spite of the failure to indict would be if he had a personal vendetta against the accused or a political motive. The Article 32 Investigating Officer did not feel that there was sufficient evidence to support the charge. Admiral Van Sice and Captain Doug Wisniewski rejected the recommendation of the Article 32 Investigating Officer and referred the charge of rape to a General Court-martial. Admiral Van Sice and Captain Doug Wisniewski are not concerned about wasting the taxpayers' money; nor are they worried about being re-elected. They are secure in their position, but they are blinded by rage and other more revolting motives. They are in a position of public trust, but a reasonable person would have to question their judgement. All of the cadets at the Academy are in their care for safekeeping and nurturing. They did not hesitate to sacrifice this young cadet for some sinister ulterior motive. Who were they trying to impress? Judge Paul Weil wrote a long time ago in one of his decision that the Coast Guard has a long history of not dealing fairly with its Black personnel and officers. No one told Web Smith's parents that before they entrusted their precious son to the Coast Guard Academy's Commandant of Cadets.
The Article 32 Investigating Officer was correct. At the Trial Cadet Webster Smith was found not guilty of raping his girlfriend, Cadet Kristin Nicholson. He was found guilty of extorting sexual favors from Cadet Shelly Raudenbush. These charges were added at the last minute, but Cadet Raudenbush lied through her teeth. It was alleged that Web Smith was holding a secret over Raudenbussh that she was afraid would ruin her career if revealed. At the Trial no one seemed to want to know what the so-called secret was. Well, the secret was that she was having torrid sex with a Navy enlisted man in Virginia the previous summer.
Webster Smith never revealed her secret, not even to this very day. He has not even told his mother and father. They have not been able to speak to him since the trial. He is being held incumunicado, except for his lawyers. He did not extort her for sexual favors. She extorted him and lied about it under oath.

On 19 October 2005 Shelly Raudenbush sent Web Smith 3 text messages. Each time she asked him to come to her room. The first time he came to her room, she reminded him of their conversation in Virginia the previous summer, when they fantasized about taking nude photos of each other. Web did not bring a camera to her room, but she was ready with her camera. They took nude photos of each other with her camera, and he left. There was no touching and there was no sex.
When Web Smith returned to his room, she text messaged him a second time, and asked him to come back. When he arrived the second time, Raudenbush offer to give Web a back massage. When she had finished, Web offered to return the favor. They both had their clothes on, but she later alleged that he touched her breast. They did not engage in any sexual acts. Web went back to his room.
Cadet Raudenbush sent him a third text message asking him to come back to her room a third time. She said her legs were sore. Web massaged her legs and they both got turned on resulting in Web performing oral sex on her. When he was finished he stood up to leave. That is when she reached out and grabbed him by his belt and pulled him back to her. She unzipped his fly and took out his penis. He stopped her. He told her that she did not have to do that just because he had serviced her. She said "Yeah, right!" And she proceeded to perform oral sex on him. Then he left. That does not sound very much like extortion. Extortion should be made of sterner stuff.
That was on 19 October 2005. Nothing was ever mentioned concerning the events of that night until March of 2006, six months later. When Shelly Raudenbush was told that her friends needed her help, she told of the events of that night. They told her that they were looking for anyone who had had any sexual involvement with Web Smith. The events were turned around just enough so that it would seem that Web Smith had taken advantage of her. He had not. He was a victim of a malicious campaign of lies. A conspiracy had been hatched. The foul deed was in the making. Poor trusting good friend Webster Smith was being duped.
At a Pre-trial hearing, before the Jury was seated, when Cadet Raudenbush was called to testify in a motion's session, she pleaded the 5th Amendment. She refused to testify on the grounds that she might be incriminated. Later, at trial, she testified, and she lied. No one reported that she was given her Article 31 (right against self-incrimination) Rights, but she testified. What happened between the Pre-trial Hearing and the trial in front of the jury? Did she make a deal with the Prosecutor and the Convening Authority?
No on reported that she was given a grant of immunity. No written Grant of Immunity was admitted into evidence, or shown to the jury. What happened? Even the lies she told incriminated her.
The charges involving her are the only charges that Web Smith was found guilty of, except for one other. That was disobedience of an order. The order was not to send any Email messages to his friend at Annapolis. He sent one Email to his friend. For that he was found guilty of disobedience of an order. That seems awfully petty.
These childish pranks had landed him in jail. The lies of an unscrupulous woman and sending an Email to a friend ended his career and sent him to jail. It ruined a perfect life. He had never received as much as one demerit in his life. All through Navy Prep School he had not received one demerit. All through three and a half years at the Coast Guard Academy, he had not received one demerit. He was on the Regimental Command staff the previous summer.
When he ran afoul of Captain Doug Wisniewski his military career was over. A few lies, a few innocent but promiscuous young females, and a very angry, ruthless, and powerful Captain was all it took. This was an abuse of process. To go against the Article 32 Officer's recommendation was an abuse of discretion. To suborn frightened young girls to give biased and slanted testimony was an abuse of the prestige of the Academy. To use the Military Justice apparatus for your own personal vendetta was an abuse of process.

The U.S. Coast Guard Court of Criminal Appeals has scheduled oral arguments in the Case of The Appeal of the Court-martial Conviction of Cadet Webster Smith for January 16, 2008 in Arlington, Virginia.
A legal brief filed by his lawyers claims the convictions should be thrown out because the defense team was not allowed to fully cross-examine one of his accusers during Smith's court martial. They say that meant the jury didn't hear testimony that the accuser, a female cadet, Shelly Roddenbush, had once had consensual sex with a Coast Guard enlisted man and then called it sexual assault.
Lt. Cmdr. Patrick M. Flynn, the government's lawyer for the appeal, said 27 November that the jury "heard enough" and the trial judge was within his rights to impose reasonable limits on the cross-examination.
"They didn't need to hear the additional details the defense is arguing they should have been allowed to hear."
The defense also is asking the court to set aside Smith's convictions on two lesser charges of failing to obey an order and abandoning watch.



Blogger ichbinalj said...

By Bethe Dufresne
Published on 7/7/2006 in Region » Region Columns

So the U.S. Coast Guard Academy is marking its 30th year of admitting women. The first-ever cadet to be court-martialed is off to jail for extorting sexual favors. And the commandant of cadets has pledged to make it easier to report sexual infractions.
As a citizen and — especially — as a woman, I suppose I should be happy that female peers of one Webster M. Smith forced him to face responsibility for his shameful conduct. Yet after repeated testimony by his accusers that they were either too drunk or too timid to stand up to him, it seems a fragile victory.

Late last month Smith was convicted of sodomy — which includes oral sex in the military's definition — extortion and indecent assault. He was acquitted of rape, a charge made by an on-again, off-again girlfriend who testified that she couldn't recall the rape because she had guzzled three liters of wine, vomited and passed out.

After the incident, which left her pregnant and led to an abortion, she had sex — admittedly consensual — with Smith again.

The extortion charge stemmed from another cadet's claim that after she told Smith about an act that could have brought her dismissal from the academy, he requested “motivation” to keep her secret. This led her to pose naked with him, she said, which they had joked about doing before, and to exchange oral sex with him.

Startlingly, testimony that Smith deleted the nude photo because its existence made the woman nervous revealed at least a modicum of decency on his part.

There are so many sad things about this trial, but the saddest of all, to me, is that it seemed to send a message that women want the freedom to act as recklessly as men, yet at the same time be protected from our own unique consequences.

Don't get me wrong: We women have every right, or at least the same right, to get drunk, have casual sex or make complete fools of ourselves, and none of this entitles men to do with us as they please.

But here's the thing: Men are usually stronger physically, and don't get pregnant. So equal opportunity to control the situation or escape the consequences of alcoholic stupor remains something of an ideal.

The young women in this case were rightfully not on trial, including in the media. That's progress. But I know I wasn't the only woman wondering, day after day, what did they think might happen if they put themselves in such a vulnerable position, and why were they so ill-equipped to deal with it?

Virtually all of us have slipped up, and you have to give the women credit for coming forth when their own part in all this was so embarrassing.

Maybe I've seen too many pictures of sloshed college women allowing themselves to be slobbered over and pawed at during spring break, but I found myself concerned that maybe they weren't embarrassed.

Then I had to ask myself, as a member of the generation that brought you the sexual revolution: What hath we wrought?

Capt. Judith Keene, the first woman named commandant of cadets, wants to ensure that cadets feel free to report sexual harassment, and confident they'll be taken seriously. But if that's all the academy does, it's shirking its duty.

Although you can argue that the trial of Webster M. Smith didn't prove he was a criminal, it did show him to be untrustworthy, arrogant, and certainly no gentleman. According to the rules, that makes him unfit to be an officer in the U.S. Coast Guard.

The unspoken question, which only the academy can answer, is this: What does it mean, if it means anything at all, for a future U.S. military officer to act like a lady?

12:25 PM  
Blogger ichbinalj said...

July 07, 2006

Academy sees spike in trials for sex offenses

By Stephen Manning
Associated Press

Three courts-martial for sexual assault and misconduct at the Naval Academy are set for this summer — including rape charges against the football team’s star quarterback — cases that come as the school is under pressure to reduce sexual assaults.

Lamar Owens Jr., who led the Navy football team to an 8-4 record last fall, faces court-martial Monday at the Washington Navy Yard for allegedly raping a fellow midshipman in her dorm room in January. Courts-marital are set for later this summer against another football player accused of indecent assault and an academy instructor who allegedly made crude sexual comments to a female student.

The number of cases is relatively high for the Annapolis school, which held only one court-martial for a sexual offense between 1994 and 2004, according to a Pentagon report released last year.

But the academy, along with the nation’s other public military schools, has been under close scrutiny since allegations of sexual assault arose at the Air Force Academy in 2003. On June 28, a Coast Guard Academy cadet was sentenced to six months in a military prison after being convicted of sex-related crimes in a court-martial, although he was acquitted of rape.

Some victims rights’ groups say the cases show the Annapolis school, which was criticized in the Pentagon report for not doing enough to curb abuse, is demonstrating that it won’t tolerate sexual offenders.

“Once they realize we have zero tolerance for sexual harassment, assault or violence, I anticipate we will see the numbers go down,” said Delilah Rumburg, head of the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape. She co-chaired the task force that wrote the Pentagon report.

But lawyers for some of the accused say the increase in cases is driven by political pressure on the academy and its superintendent, Vice Adm. Rodney Rempt, to take action in cases that normally wouldn’t be handled through the Navy’s legal system.

“Adm. Rempt is running scared,” said Charles Gittins, attorney for Lt. Bryan Black, the instructor accused of sexual harassment. “He has been under pressure from the board and feminist organizations.”

A spokeswoman for the academy would not comment on the upcoming cases.

The academy has struggled with charges of sexual abuse and harassment since it first admitted women in 1976. Women still comprise only a fraction of the midshipmen, only about 17 percent of the 4,000 student body. But the numbers are increasing with each class.

The academy has incorporated training on sexual harassment and abuse prevention into training beginning with “plebe summer” — the first session with incoming students. A sexual assault intervention program provides resources for victims and encourages reporting of abuse.

“I have consistently made clear to all our staff and midshipmen that the Navy does not tolerate sexual harassment, misconduct or sexual assault,” Rempt said last month while testifying before a House panel probing abuse at the military academies.

The Navy can handle cases using administrative methods, which could lead to the resignation of a midshipman from the academy, or through a court-martial in the service’s criminal system. Taking the latter route means prison time is among the possible punishments. The academy superintendent decides which method to use, and appoints the jury pool in a court-martial.

There have been 41 accusations of sexual assault involving midshipmen since 2001, according to academy statistics released last month. Of those, eight were referred to trial. Two were convicted, one by court-martial last summer, the other in civilian court. Two await trial — Owens and fellow football player Kenny Ray Morrison. The other four were expelled.

The academy has traditionally chosen the administrative option, allowing midshipmen to resign, said Anita Sanchez, spokeswoman for the Miles Foundation, which tracks cases of abuse in the military. The fact that some midshipmen are now facing criminal proceedings is encouraging, she said.

“It is hopefully indicative of the fact that the military will be able to provide justice for the victims in these cases,” she said.

Attorneys for Owens, Black and Morrison have challenged Rempt’s ability to oversee the cases, saying his decisions are swayed by politics, not evidence. Cases such as that of Black, who is facing a special court-martial which can result in lighter penalties than a regular court-martial, are usually handled administratively, Gittins said.

“It isn’t a crime and I don’t think it will end up being a crime,” the lawyer said.

While the academy encourages reporting, there may still be a reluctance among midshipmen to report assaults. During a preliminary hearing for Owens, a friend of the alleged victim described the difficulty the woman faced over whether to report incident, saying women who report men at the academy “get crucified” by their peers.

Owens allegedly entered the woman’s room early Jan. 29 and forced himself on her. Both were drunk, and the woman said during an Article 32 hearing — akin to a grand jury — that she blacked out during some of the incident. His attorney has said he is innocent.

But jurors will likely hear a tape of a phone call the victim, who is not being identified by The Associated Press, made to Owens a week later. In a soft voice, Owens said he considered killing himself after the incident, and asks if the woman reported it.

“I can never expect you to forgive me,” Owens says on the tape.

12:31 PM  
Blogger ichbinalj said...

Less-than-honorable Coast Guard Women
To The Editor Of The Day:

Published on 7/12/2006 in Editorial » Letters to The Editor

The column “Unsavory times at Academy,” by Beth Dufresne, published July 7, is right on the money. I thought I must be the only person wondering about the conduct of those female cadets. Although taking advantage of a woman is never acceptable, women should be cautioned to use discretion when drinking. To put yourself in the position of passing out from drinking is shameful, more so as a cadet and role model. When you allow yourself to be vulnerable, someone will take advantage of you, sexually or otherwise. This is exactly the type of risky behavior so much time and money is spent telling girls and women of all ages to avoid.
After all the hard work that goes into being at the Academy in the first place, you would think these women would be strong and confident leaders not sorority girls looking for a good tine.

Why does the exchange of oral sex not mean a sodomy charge for the female involved? I have heard nothing of charges against the women at all. At a minimum they should all be dismissed from the Academy. If Webster M. Smith is unfit to be an officer in the U.S. Coast Guard, then the women in this mess should be held accountable to the same degree.

Good luck to the U.S. military if this is the nonsense we can look forward to in future officers.

Tia Marie De Wick
New London

5:29 PM  
Blogger ichbinalj said...

Houston cadet charged in assaults

NEW LONDON - A senior at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy who graduated in 2001 from Houston's Strake Jesuit College Preparatory School has been charged with sexually assaulting six female cadets in the campus barracks and other sites. Webster M. Smith, 22, of Houston, was separated from the rest of the student population after the first complaint was filed with administrators Dec. 4. Smith was charged Feb. 9 under military law with rape, assault, indecent assault and sodomy against female cadets. The military equivalent of a civilian grand jury hearing was scheduled for March 15.

6:14 PM  
Blogger ichbinalj said...

By Elba Rodriguez
Chicago, IL.

It always amazes me how often women are not held responsible for their actions.....

6:49 PM  
Blogger ichbinalj said...

The U.S. Coast Guard Court of Criminal Appeals has scheduled oral arguments in the Case of The Appeal of the Court-martial Conviction of Cadet Webster Smith for January 16, 2008 in Arlington, Virginia.
A legal brief filed by his lawyers claims the convictions should be thrown out because the defense team was not allowed to fully cross-examine one of his accusers during Smith's court martial. They say that meant the jury didn't hear testimony that the accuser, a female cadet, Shelly Roddenbush, had once had consensual sex with a Coast Guard enlisted man and then called it sexual assault.
Lt. Cmdr. Patrick M. Flynn, the government's lawyer for the appeal, said 27 November that the jury "heard enough" and the trial judge was within his rights to impose reasonable limits on the cross-examination.
"They didn't need to hear the additional details the defense is arguing they should have been allowed to hear."
The defense also is asking the court to set aside Smith's convictions on two lesser charges of failing to obey an order and abandoning watch.

10:12 AM  
Blogger ichbinalj said...

International Herald Tribune - France
(The Associated Press) WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 28, 2007
Lawyers for a former cadet who was the first student court-martialed in the 130-year history of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy's are seeking to reverse his convictions for sexual misconduct.
Oral Arguments before the Coast Guard Court of Military Appeals is set for 16 January 2008 in Arlington, Va.

11:02 AM  

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