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I Don’t Get It
Posted by: Dale Franks on Wednesday, May 30, 2007

You can always count on the USAF to serve swift justice when the "crime" concerns someone's naughty bits. For instance:
A Spangdahlem-based airman was sentenced Monday to four months confinement for her part in a sexual act with two other airmen.

Airman 1st Class Ashley N. Rains pleaded guilty at a court-martial to two indecent acts charges.

She had faced rape and sodomy charges but admitted to the lesser charges as part of a plea deal.

Judge (Col.) Gordon Hammock also sentenced Rains, 22, an aircrew life support specialist with the 22nd Fighter Squadron, to reduction to the lowest pay grade.

She faced a maximum sentence that included as many as 10 years in a military prison, but Air Force prosecutors argued for a lighter sentence of two years.

The alcohol-induced menage a trois on Sept. 24 in Bitburg included a male airman and a female staff sergeant.

But both prosecution and defense lawyers debated whether it was consensual among the three.

Rains and Airman Christopher D. Hicks are the only airmen charged in the incident because the Air Force lawyers said the staff sergeant was too drunk to give consent.

Air Force prosecutor Capt. Mike Felsen said the staff sergeant “appeared drunk” and slipped “in and out of consciousness” while Rains and Hicks performed sexual acts with her.

Felsen argued the staff sergeant, who did not testify during the trial, was vulnerable and Rains and Hicks took advantage of her.

But Rains’ defense attorney, Capt. Matthew King, called the incident a situation involving three consenting adults with “various degrees of intoxication.”

King argued that Rains shouldn’t go to jail for what amounts to a drunken threesome.

“Does she really have to go to jail for this?” he asked.
It's not politically correct to say it nowadays, but, at one time, my fellow airmen would've referred to A1C Rains as "a good egg". Now, we call her felon, evidently.

I'm wondering about SSgt X, whose name seems not important enough to mention in the article. What is a staff NCO doing getting so drunk that she apparently lost all control of herself. That's something I find unseemly. Indeed, what was SSgt X doing hanging out with two young airmen?

And note the actual charges, and the final sentence. She was initially charged with rape but she got a plea bargain for indecent acts with a 40-day sentence.

Wow.

Pleading a class A felony down to the equivalent of a B misdemeanor? No bad conduct discharge? That's a helluva plea bargain.

And, frankly, it makes me think that the rape charge was sort of...overkill. The judge didn't even give prosecutors the two years they were asking for. If the Staff sergeant was raped, then it seems that would've been easy enough to prove, and A1C Rains would've gotten a much harsher sentence.

Which makes me wonder why the USAF charging airmen for a drunken threesome in the first place. Apparently, the SPs and OSI have eliminated all the other criminal activity at Spang.

Maybe my perceptions are colored by my experience as an SP, but the USAF sure goes to the wall anytime sexual offenses come to light, even consensual ones.

And look at this again:
Rains and Airman Christopher D. Hicks are the only airmen charged in the incident because the Air Force lawyers said the staff sergeant was too drunk to give consent.
Does that mean that SSgt X would've been charged if she hadn't been so drunk? Well, actually, yes, it does. Because doing naughty things with a female airman would be a felony.

But why wasn't she charged for the apparent public drunkenness? I get she's getting a free pass for that.

Something's just not right, here.

As one retired blue-suiter put it in the comments to the story:
Witch hunts have never been a good policy for the services. Get out of people's bed rooms and do something positive instead of ruining peoples lives.
Hear, hear.
 
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It’s not politically correct to say it nowadays, but, at one time, my fellow airmen would’ve referred to A1C Rains as "a good egg".
I dunno about "good egg", but I know I’d like to meet the young lady... :)

wink wink, nudge nudge, say no more...

Dale... You know people... See what you can do, or else I’ll have to go back to my fantasies of Nancy Grace, and you don’t want that, do you?
 
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
Witch hunts have never been a good policy for the services. Get out of people’s bed rooms and do something positive instead of ruining peoples lives.
Umm, no. Go after the NCO in this threesome.
 
Written By: Mark A. Flacy
URL: http://
There’s not much you can do once a court-martial hands down a conviction.

It’s all up to lawyers now.
 
Written By: Dale Franks
URL: http://www.qando.net
I’d like to know how this happened to come to light. Until I find out if there is a complainant I’m withholding judgement. Where did it occur and who was the complainant. I don’t think the SP’s just marched into someone’s quarters.
 
Written By: tom scott
URL: http://
this seems like another casue of hang the lower ranking enlisted guy instead of hold the right people responsible for their actions.
 
Written By: SLNTAX
URL: http://
Witch hunts have never been a good policy for the services. Get out of people’s bed rooms and do something positive instead of ruining peoples lives
I dunno....the phrase "it’s hard to be a band of brothers when they’re all trying to bang the sister" leaps to mind here. I’m assuming that’s the reason the services go after this sort of thing so harshly. Anyone who served- is that reasoning justified based on what you’ve seen?
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
No idea Shark...

I’m just waiting for Dale to help a brother out...
 
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
"Rains and Airman Christopher D. Hicks are the only airmen charged in the incident"

"the only airmen.."?
I am assuming that is a mistake, and that there were not more people involved. This time, anyway.


"my fellow airmen would’ve referred to A1C Rains as "a good egg"."

I hope your fellow airmen used condoms, or the good egg may have been fertilized.

" this seems like another casue of hang the lower ranking enlisted guy instead of hold the right people responsible for their actions."

Like they say, RHIP.

 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
I am assuming that is a mistake, and that there were not more people involved. This time, anyway.
I think that meant they were not charging the SSgt...

And I’m still waiting for Airman Rains’ number, Dale...
 
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
I’m wondering about SSgt X, whose name seems not important enough to mention in the article.
I think that’s keeping in tradition in not publicizing rape victims names.
From the Cleveland Leader:
Apparently the act itself isn’t what got the threesome in trouble, but rather, it was because prosecutors say that the staff sergeant was too drunk to have consented, and that is when it became a criminal case.
Similar to a date rape. That would explain why there were no charges filed against the SSGT.
If that’s the case then this:
Witch hunts have never been a good policy for the services. Get out of people’s bed rooms and do something positive instead of ruining peoples lives.
is way "off base."
 
Written By: tom scott
URL: http://
"I think that’s keeping in tradition in not publicizing rape victims names."

I confess to being a pig, but in my opinion anyone, male or female, who gets so drunk they " slipped "in and out of consciousness"" stretches the definition of victim. I may be a "victim" if I jump in front of a bus, but I’m not sure I would try the bus driver for murder. Having done more than my share of drinking in my wayward youth(an overachiever in that category only, and stretching the definition of youth), I can state that it takes serious effort and attention to get that drunk. It ain’t accidental. "Oops! I accidentally swallowed a fifth of whiskey!" just isn’t credible. Admittedly, I don’t know all the details, but so far I havn’t been convinced there is even a crime here.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Timactual—I’m actual(ly) with you on this. I just presenting what I think the prosecutors thought and what they thought they could prosecute. I’m saying that THEY believe the SSGT was a victim. And they suggest that if she wasn’t then there was no crime. Apparently the act itself isn’t what got the threesome in trouble...
 
Written By: tom scott
URL: http://
in my opinion anyone, male or female, who gets so drunk they " slipped "in and out of consciousness"" stretches the definition of victim.
Wow. Someone passes out drunk and it’s open season on them?
Pleading a class A felony down to the equivalent of a B misdemeanor? No bad conduct discharge? That’s a helluva plea bargain.

And, frankly, it makes me think that the rape charge was sort of...overkill.
Never watch Law & Order: SVU? I think it’s just as likely they knew it was impossible to prove.

 
Written By: abwtf
URL: http://abw.mee.nu
"Wow. Someone passes out drunk and it’s open season on them?"

Open season? No. Blameless victim, pure as the driven snow? No. I am a believer in the theory of contributory negligence.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
What what the officer doing drinking, then leaving with the other 2, and going into my sons bedroom ..... What planet did she come from? Why did she not call her husband for a ride home?
Sounds like a good story to excuse her behavior.
I say they all should get equal justice....and really....why can’t the AF spend more time protecting us and not thinking of the behaviors of what goes on in someones bedroom.
 
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