Monday, October 28, 2013

Sexual Assault At Coast Guard Academy, The Webster Smith Case Appendix 6

Appendix 6

Letter From Admiral James Van Sice to USCGA Alumni

Subject: Webster Smith Update

Attached is a note from the new Assistant Superintendent of the Academy, Captain Dan May, '79. All the class correspondents were asked to forward this note to their classmates. I forward it to you without comment.
Many of you have also asked for specific contact info for RADM Van Sice. In the interest of fairness, I have included it as well.
Rear Admiral James C. Van Sice US Coast Guard Academy 31 Mohegan Ave New London, Ct 6320- 8103


Attached is his letter.................
To all CGA Alumni and the Coast Guard Community:

This past January, CAPT Jim Thomas, who then served in my current position as the Assistant Superintendent of the Academy, informed you of a sexual misconduct investigation involving a member of the CGA Corps of Cadets. For those that have continued to follow along the past 6 months, you are well aware that the investigation led to formal charges against a First Class cadet and ultimately a court-martial, the first for an Academy cadet in the history of CGA. I want to take this opportunity to once again reach out to you with some updated information as we continue to move forward and make progress.
Our system of military justice is designed to ensure that all cases are resolved in a just manner. We endeavor to ensure a thorough and professional investigation of allegations brought to the command's attention. The unique facts and circumstances of each case are assessed to determine its appropriate disposition. When a general court-martial is contemplated, an impartial Investigating Officer is selected to assess the evidence and offer recommendations. Accused service members are detailed defense counsel and allowed individual military counsel and/or civilian defense counsel of their choosing. Cases are heard by impartial, qualified court members, before trained Military Judges, in open and transparent proceedings. Fact finders are charged to decide cases weighing the evidence against the high burden of proof imposed on the government. Our commitment to justice, due process and the rule of law requires faithful observance of the processes established by the Rules for Courts-Martial.

Several weeks ago, the CGA court-martial concluded with the First Class Cadet acquitted of five charges (rape, extortion, sodomy, assault and unlawful entry) and convicted of five other charges (extortion, sodomy, indecent assault, attempted failure to obey a lawful order and unauthorized absence). The court-martial members adjudged 6 months confinement, forfeiture of all pay/allowances and dismissal from the service. Although the trial has concluded, the case continues in the post-trial processing phase, which includes the convening authority's (CGA Superintendent) action. After reviewing the results of trial, clemency materials submitted by the defense, and the Staff Judge Advocate's recommendation, the convening authority may disapprove a finding of guilty, and/or approve, disapprove, mitigate or change a punishment (as long as the severity of the punishment is not increased).

The post-trial processing phase can take several months to conclude.  While this process unfolds, it is critically important that the convening authority absent himself from engaging in any direct comments concerning the case or the specific outcome.
A case of this nature evokes strong opinion and sentiments among all involved as well as the casual observer. This case has been no exception. Many of you have expressed your views in various venues including emails and letters to CGA. However, until the case is officially resolved, it would be inappropriate for CGA or the convening authority to discuss the particulars of this case in any forum outside
the court-martial process.
Thus, I ask for your continued understanding and patience as this case makes its way towards a final conclusion. Just as Jim did, I also want to reiterate that the Coast Guard Academy is founded on the Coast Guard's core values of Honor, Respect and Devotion to duty. We will never waiver from our commitment to these precious values. We are also committed to the fair treatment of all members of our service.

Just two weeks ago, 274 new cadets reported to CGA, marched onto Washington Parade field and took the oath of service as the Class of
2010. They are some of the best young people our nation has to offer and they are extremely committed to the Coast Guard. They are honored and proud to be at this institution. They are the future of our service. We owe it to them to remain strong and to never waiver from
our service commitments.
v/r, D. R. May, CAPT, USCG Assistant Superintendent U.S. Coast Guard Academy




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