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USAFA cadet dismissed, sentenced to jail following court-martial

U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. (KRDO) -- A week-long court-martial ends with a jail sentence, a fine, and a dismissal of the cadet.

On April 25, a court-martial began for former U.S. Air Force Academy Cadet Dekota Douglas. He was charged with two specifications of sexual assault in violation of Article 120, Uniform Code of Military Justice. Douglas was also charged with two specifications of dereliction of duty in violation of Article 92, Uniform Code of Military Justice, for providing alcohol to a minor and having an unprofessional relationship.

Monday, the USAFA announced Douglas was found guilty of two specifications of dereliction of duty in violation of Article 92, Uniform Code of Military Justice, for providing alcohol to a minor and having an unprofessional
relationship.

However, officials say he was not found guilty of two specifications of sexual assault in violation of Article 120, UCMJ.

Following a panel of eight officers deliberating for five hours, they handed down the verdict. Another four hours were used to determine the sentence following the week-long trial.

Douglas was sentenced to 31 days of confinement, forfeitures of pay and allowances for one month, dismissal, and a reprimand.

According to the USAFA, a dismissal is a punitive discharge for officers and cadets.

KRDO News

Comments

14 Comments

  1. We often hear about cadets “having an unprofessional relationship.” But it generally takes two to have a relationship. So what about the other party? Were they also disciplined for the same reason? Discipline doesn’t always appear to be applied equally in these cases.

    1. “Unprofessional relationship” in this instance could mean that he was taking advantage of his position/rank with regards to a subordinate (a Senior over a Freshman, for example). In such a situation, it is the senior member who is held responsible.

  2. I’m not clear on what “dismissal” means. Is he expelled from the academy? Are academy students paid? What does it mean that he is losing a month’s pay?

    1. In a word, yes. When a cadet/midshipman is “awarded” dismissal from an academy, they are being expelled. Cadets do receive a stipend while in school, thus the award of losing one month’s pay. The only question I have is whether he will have to repay all the free tuition that he’s received. That really adds up.

      1. Thanks for the information. I was confused about why he was losing one month of stipend or pay but also “dismissed”. I appreciate the clarification. Good point on the tuition, I’d be more concerned about the 8,000 applicants that didn’t get the place he was given, but maybe they found good schools elsewhere.

  3. I grew up believing our military academies had the highest standards for admission, that only the best of the best got to go there. Like so many of my young beliefs in this country, this one has gone by the wayside. In looking at admissions several years ago, I noted that what they found extremely important in an applicant was — wait for it — sports. Super important to try to be a football player, a quarterback if possible. There have been so many crimes and other tragedies at this academy in the last decade, it’s like a petri dish of the worst dysfunction of our high school students.

    1. Isn’t that true of many colleges today? And we wonder why the standards of education are declining in our country . . .

    2. Academy students, like other Armed Forces members, represent a microcosm of the society that they are drawn from. These are supposed to be the cream of the crop. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case, especially when “Legacy” applicants are involved.

      1. I didn’t realize there were legacy students here, thought that was more an Ivy League thing, but I believe you.

        These are definitely problems you see throughout our culture, but my problem is that the Academy seems to poorly identify markers for “cream of the crop”. I looked into their “advice” for home schooled students several years ago, and what it implied was that if you were home educated because your family wanted to teach you in a conservative, traditional, “patriotic”, and religious way they would think of you as weird and be unlikely to admit you; but if you could find a way to play on the local football team, they’d take a look. It was weirder than Stanford (which also wants to know why are you home schooled (to weed out the kooky right wingers) but actually admits a higher percentage of home school applicants than those not home schooled who apply. I don’t think you have to be a flag-waving Christian to be a good officer, but I think it’s a bad sign that it seems to disqualify you. And that was before all the acrimony of the last two adminstrations.

  4. Seems clear that is that case, and I’d guess the as sault charges were related to the fact that the other part was a minor. I’d as sume (and I may be wrong) that a statutory rape charge was not in order because the gap in ages wasn’t wide enough, but that the power disparity and use of alcohol meant this wasn’t a case of free and consenting adults, either. But I don’t know that’s the case, of course.

    1. Drug use is punishable. And yet underage alcohol consumption is not, regardless of the source of the alcohol? That doesn’t seem right either. It takes two to tango, even if one of them is “superior” in some regard.

      1. I think that’s just inherently a tough one, because minors aren’t allowed to drink because we believe they don’t yet have the judgment to do so safely — so if you arrest a minor for drinking, you have already conceded that lack of maturity reduces his culpability. It’s also the case that we allow citizens to buy alcohol at age 21 because we’ve set that as the age they can use good judgement, and be held accountable if they don’t.

        As for being superior in some regard, it’s only in regard to authority. If one person clearly has authority over another (official power, like a job hierarchy or military rank, not just perceived power, like if someone has more emotional influence in a relationship), then coercion potentially enters the situation and then the law is the only objective way to determine whether a crime has been committed or not.

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