Have you or a loved one become fouled up in the Coast Guard sexual assault scandal? As civilian military defense counsel, we can advise, assist, and, if necessary, represent you.
If you are wondering what we are discussing, please read a previously secret report of legacy Coast Guard sexual offense allegations.
A major media organization discovered the existence of the report, and it is now the subject of intense congressional and media interest. Or rather, the alleged sexual misconduct identified in the report has become a focus for attention and potential action.
The headline-grabbing CNN report hit the deCks of Coast Guard leaders, members, and, of course, members of Congress. In light of the ongoing political and public interest in military leadership’s response may well lead to a tsunami of adverse actions for those identified in the report or who are suspected of being complicit in any identified leadership failures or the so-called cover-up.
The response to the report and the allegations “exposed” are likely to hit the desks of military defense counsel in the coming months.
Those most likely to be affected first are those still on active duty. Following them will be regular retirees who would still be subject to court-martial jurisdiction under Article 2 of the UCMJ.
For us, as civilian defense attorneys, one of the first questions will be about the statute of limitations applicable to any alleged sex offense.
We call these allegations legacy cases because they go back years into a suspect’s career, often back to their Coast Guard Academy days. Jurisdiction to prosecute at court-martial will depend on the specific allegation made. For example, if the allegation is rape, we know there is no statute of limitations bar to a court-martial. We know this because the U.S. Supreme Court said so in the Briggs case.
Interestingly, Fouled Anchor seems to have come about because the Air Force wanted to prosecute LtCol Mangahas for rape while a Coast Guard Academy cadet. Initially, the military appellate courts decided in Mangahas that there was a five-year statute of limitations for rape. This CAAF decision overruled several decades of law that had said there was no statute of limitations bar to rape. However, in Briggs, the United States Supreme Court decided that there was no statute of limitations bar and that the decision in Mangahas was wrong.
Post Fouled Anchor, Coast Guard Investigative Service (CGIS) has been active, reinterviewing or interviewing “suspects” and alleged victims and supplementing their reports. If CGIS is coming after you, you can consult and retain us to assist as your civilian military defense counsel.
Historically, the CG has not recalled a retiree for court-martial. There is some possibility that may change because of the extraordinary pressures on the CG to “do something.” Even if there is no court-martial, there can be other adverse consequences, such as promotions, premier assignments, or retention.
We have had these experiences representing Air Force and Navy members in similar situations. Some years ago, the Air Force OSI began reopening stale cases and tracking down active and retired members for possible adverse action, and the Navy had the Fat Leonard scandal, during which we represented 19 Navy officers allegedly involved active and retired members for possible adverse action, and the Navy had the Fat Leonard scandal, during which we represented 19 Navy officers allegedly involved.