Monday, October 03, 2011

Navy JAG Corps: Truth? You Can't Handle the Truth!

This is going to be a long one that you may need a white-board and three colored markers to track - so go get a cup of coffee and come back.

OK, let's go.

Legal Stories are one of the hardest to keep track of. Part of the problem is that legal processes can drag out for years, can quickly devolve into small details that only an attorney can understand, and the connection between the initiating action and justice can bob, weave, and fade down rabbit holes. They also can be, frankly, boring - not a good thing to draw readership.

Now and then though - something happens in a legal story that brings out a larger story. You know what I mean - the things Momma Salamander taught me early - it isn't the mistake that is the problem; it is the coverup.

Well, it looks like we have one of these cases again - this time things are in play that any naval professional will recognize.

This story is so complicated, I have had to tap in to some reliable folks on my email list to bounce ideas off of. With their permission - I have lifted parts of their explanations in whole and wedged them in this post. I'm good - but not that good.

As is usually the case in such topics - they don't want to be anywhere near this post, don't want thanks, hat tips, or even a Christmas Card. So, I'll claim it all.

Here we go - stick with me on this.

Some of you may recall my post from over a year ago criticizing the Navy’s decision to let a serial sexual predator walk, and some of the commenters who seemed to be “in the know” noted that this deal was made by the Convening Authority without the approval or endorsement of the trial counsel. Well, the saga continues, as the Navy has claimed a new victim: The one person who tried to put him behind bars.

On 26 SEP, the Navy Times (sorry, can't find an online link) reported the findings of an internal JAG Corps “Investigation” in which senior members of the beltway JAG Corps issued findings that officers at Region Legal Service Office Japan had violated the law regarding victim’s rights in a case from May of 2010. That is a serious charge, and as you read the article, things get even more serious; this report has since resulted in professional responsibility complaints (disbarment proceedings) against the attorneys involved in the case.

Per the Navy Times, the Navy’s second highest ranking JAG, Rear Admiral Nanette DeRenzi has endorsed these findings and has also publicly announced that the prosecutor in this case was “overwhelmed” and made “false or misleading statements.”

I don't know about you, but that got my puzz'r puzzl'n.

But, to quote Paul Harvey…perhaps it’s time to hear “the rest of the story.” Ignoring, for a moment how it is that so much internal personnel information and from a case over a year old managed to suddenly be sent to the Navy Times amidst an ongoing proceeding, let’s start where all good stories start:

At the beginning.

In 2008, four women in Atsugi, Japan reported that their physician, LCDR Anthony Velasquez, had sexually assaulted them. The case was investigated by NCIS and forwarded to the Region Legal Service Office, Japan, for a recommendation as to whether to bring charges. The assigned prosecutor, (who has since been promoted) recommended no charges. The prosecutor did not contact any alleged victims in this case, prior to making this recommendation. Upon the dropping of this case, victims were required to return for medical treatment to the clinic at which LCDR Velasquez worked, and at least one victim reported being bullied by her command and pressured not to contact the media for reporting her assault. This victim has since joined a class action lawsuit against the DoD for alleged mishandling of sexual assault cases. The NCIS agent assigned to the case alleges that the prosecutor, when questioned as to the decision not to charge, stated, “I have better things to do than waste my time with hysterical dependents and little girls who don’t know their own bodies.” Despite the fact that this comment was reported by the agent to NCIS co-workers over a year before the Velasquez case became the subject of controversy, the JAG Corps has elected to unsubstantiate the allegation of a federal agent because “none of the victims were minors, therefore factually it did not fit the facts of the case” (paraphrased). The victims at this time included three navy wives, and one 19 year old E3. Apparently the JAG Corps is unfamiliar with hyperbole.

Concurrently, Naval Hospital Yokosuka initiated a peer review in which a senior medical officer recommended that Dr. Velasquez only see male patients. Despite this recommendation, LCDR Velasquez was sent on an IA to Kuwait where, in less than six months, NINETEEN MORE WOMEN, NINETEEN MORE ACTIVE DUTY SOLDIERS AND SAILORS reported assaults. These were preventable.

At this time the case was forwarded to a different prosecutor. The new Trial Counsel got the case preferred, successfully litigated the Article 32 hearing, was prepared to go forward to trial, and ultimately got a serial sexual predator to plead guilty on a case earlier discarded as a waste of time. So, with a zealous prosecutor, and a voluminous credible witness list, what went wrong?

Money.


Although senior officers within the JAG Corps have routinely denied this fact…a fact sure to raise the eyebrows of the HASC and SASC, this travesty of justice occurred because then Commander Navy Region Japan did not want to fund the trial. The prosecutor, now maligned as a liar in this small community of only 700 some odd officers, has been the only officer with enough integrity to acknowledge this, and produced to the investigators' e-mails corroborating that cost was the overlying concern of the convening authority. The JAG Corps response: (paraphrased) Cost was not a factor. It has been corroborated that the SJA from CNIC confirmed that there was adequate funding available. Again, JAG Corps…your logic. I have enough money in my bank account to buy Mrs. Salamander a Hermes purse. It does not mean I will, and it doesn’t mean that the price tag isn’t the reason why.

So, against the prosecutor’s recommendation, two other JAG Officer’s favorably endorsed, and a Two Star Admiral approved, SEVEN DAYS of confinement for a man who had sexually assaulted multiple women. Several verbal protests were made by the prosecutor and on 20 May, prior to the signing of the deal, the prosecutor submitted a written disagreement, advocating directly opposite the position taken by the prosecutor’s entire chain of command.

The e-mail, in relevant part stated (1) that the prosecutor had not been included in the substantive negotiations; (2) that the prosecutor assessed the evidence as strong, and the likelihood of conviction good; (3) that there was no justice sending an E3 to the brig for 90 days for going UA, but sending a sexual predator for jail for 7 days; (4) that this was a poor message to send regarding disparity in officer and enlisted ranks; (5) that it was a worse message to the victims; (6) that the victims would not be happy with the deal; (6) and that the pressure to deal due to cost savings did not justify such an inappropriate outcome.

THAT, Admiral Greenert, is integrity. THAT, Admiral Greenert, is courage. THAT, Admiral Greenert is exactly the kind of free thinking, critical junior officer the Navy needs to retain, and instead, your counsel have chosen to, in the wake of the anger over a bad acceptance of a PTA decision, a decision that was foolish on its face made by a Two Star Admiral, scapegoat and destroy the career of the one person who said “Timeout! This is wrong!”

After all, it is just another JO - we print them like the Fed prints money. One more LT under the bus, who will notice?

Ahem.

The excuse now being used to destroy the career of this junior officer is that the Trial Counsel failed to deliver a trifold brochure to the victims in accordance with the Navy’s VWAP (Victim Witness Assistance Program). The trial counsel provided over 400 documented communications with the victims to the JAGMAN “investigators”. However, trial counsel did not hand out the brochure. (And, as the JAGMAN reports, neither did multiple other attorneys at this Command). When asked, trial counsel acknowledged this, and stated a lack of training – consistent with the fact that a subsequent audit found that 75% of trial counsel at this command were not properly executing their VWAP duties, and a later 2010 JAG-wide audit that found the VWAP system broken throughout the fleet.

This is precious. Read the next few bullets twice. Franz Kafka, LT, JAGC, USN - please call your office.

And there are some other curious facts about this case:
  1. Although the JAG Corps has alleged that the Trial Counsel made false statements regarding the lack of adequate VWAP training and oversight, the JAG Corps did not even have a VWAP instruction until June, 2010, AFTER the conclusion of the Velasquez case. Go to the link, read it, and screencap it fast while you can!
  2. The VWAP instruction written in 2010 referred to the “statutorily designated rights of victims” (page 8) – rights which have not been in effect since 2004 when Congress repealed 42 USC 10606 and replaced it with 18 USC 3771.
  3. The JAGMAN was convened the same month that the DoD IG reported systemic failures of leadership and oversight in the JAG Corps administration of military justice in the wake of the US v. Foster travesty.
  4. The Investigating Officer was the Chief of Staff for OJAG.
  5. The investigation omitted voluminous evidence, relied on hearsay, failed to interview relevant witnesses, and took the unsupported speculations of the investigator as “Fact”.
  6. The top JAG acknowledged to Congress that in FY 2010, significant resources were invested in improving VWAP, consistent with the allegedly false statements regarding existing issues with training and oversight.
  7. In the 2010 SARC Report, the JAG Corps reported only the sentence issued by the military judge, making no mention of the fact virtually all confinement was suspended, suggesting a desire to bury the disgraceful outcome of this case (Navy case #283)
Certainly looks like VWAP was broken before the Velasquez case. So why not just fix the system, change course and move on? Why shoot everyone in the head who was unlucky enough to be involved in the case that just happened to bring the flaws into the light? Perhaps because after being called out for incompetence on appellate issues, the JAG leadership needs to make examples. Or perhaps given the pending class action lawsuits regarding the mishandling of sexual assault cases, the Navy needs to make a few people responsible, rather than admitting the system was flawed.

See, I told you any naval professional would recognize what is going on. As is a habit, when we see "responsibility" bandied about, we see the quasi-feudal "responsibility for thee; but not for me" from those with the best parking spaces.

I could go on and on with this strange tale: About how the whole Investigation was launched after the NCIS agent on the case reported systemic failures at the RLSO office subsequently faced significant reprisals; or about how documents contradictory to the investigator’s “findings” have been “redistributed” without records being maintained. I could tell you about how a Navy-wide VWAP inspection revealed that training was defective throughout the fleet, consistent with Trial Counsel’s allegedly false statements. I could let you know that among the “reasons” cited by senior JAG Officers as to Trial Counsel’s unfitness to practice law is the fact that in one e-mail exchange, the husband of a frustrated victim was told that the civilian defense attorney was an asshole. Or how in February the trial counsel took and passed a polygraph. Or how at least one victim reported to the Japan Times that the trial counsel , now accused of violating victims’ rights was reprimanded for telling her the terms of the plea deal. Or how when Trial Counsel asked another Senior JAG for a statement relevant to defenses against the allegations, the reply was that that officer had been ordered to “steer clear” by DJAG.

But I think we’ve at least covered the meat and potatoes: In fairy tales, the kid who shows everyone the Emperor is naked is a Hero. In the JAG Corps, that person ends up with their head on a pike outside the palace.

That is how it reads from here. Tell me I'm wrong. If I'm missing something - I'm all ears.

Admiral, remember…these are your advisors. Ask hard questions as only a nuclear-trained officer knows how to.

133 comments:

Byron said...

<span>As much as this sucks, it ain't got nothing on how screwed up Naval Hospitals are.... Like the one that told my daughter last Friday that a blood glucose level of 600 on my 16 year old grandson wasn't an emergency and could be handled by appointment with his primary physician. Sunday he went to JAX NAS hospital and my son in law got yelled out for not bringing in earlier.</span>
<span></span>
<span>Grandson is fine...but if I hadn't started making phone calls Saturday evening he would have never gone to the hospital noon sunday. This, by the way, is the same hospital that setlled two wrongful death suits and three months later got a MUC.</span>

CDR K said...

Commands are required to pay for courts martial out of pocket and then have to hope that the funds will be restored from higher headquarters at a later date.  So when a CO is looking at giving up $200K in operating funds, it most certainly is going to weigh in the decision.  Morals and ethics are also supposed to weigh in, but you know how that can go....  The rationale I've heard is that by requiring a convening authority to pay for the costs that commands will not go about willy-nilly convening courts martial.  Well, that policy is certainly working for us, isn't it?

Perhaps the JAG will include this case in their corridor display at the Pentagon.  I hear such things only cost about $250K or so.  Such a coincidence!

Andy said...

OT: Byron, I am the parent of a Type I Diabetic child. What happened to your grandson is indeed, IMHO, malpractice or at least medical negligence (usually due to ignorance and poor training). If there's a way we can communicate via email, I will be more than happy to talk in detail with you about immediate and long-term issues regarding your grandson. Here's the immediate good news: Properly treated and controlled, your grandson is looking at a normal and healthy lifespan. Yes, his life has irrevocably changed, but it isn't the end of the world.

Sal, can you facilitate us communicating off js-kit?

Byron said...

OT: Andy, admitted 9/25, released 9/28, and had a BG of 100 Sunday after breakfast :)

LCDR Black said...

I read about this in the Enquirer knowing some of the story I shook my head at the blanket pee pee spank and only 7 day jail time for a convicted serial sexual predator. Incidentally, I saw an HM1 walk from 29 counts of sexual assault out of that AOR due, in my view, prosecutorial hubris and laziness. It seems the prosecution did their job this time. For the prosecution, know you did your job look in the mirror with pride and honor and know that although your community cut you off at the knees you worked hard to uphold your oath. It is a bitter pill and I know. It is the Navy's loss. You are exactly the type of SJA I would want advising me. Take heart in that you did the right thing.

LCDR Black

Andy said...

Good to know. Controlling Type I is like balancing on a 6'x6' square of plywood on top of a pyramid. Lots of constantly changing variables, but do-able. Denial behaviors are an issue with teen Type I's (DAMHIK) so he needs some significant peer support. Educating his school will also be an issue. I'm going out on a limb here: Take the 1st letters of my name, lower case. Add: India Echo Mike Yankee Echo Romeo aht golf mike alpha india lima daht charlie oscar mike and we can chat some more.

Adversus Omnes Dissident said...

Now it is time to put the money where the mouth is.  So you want to be a SECNAV.....eliminating sexual assault is your TOP PRIORITY...

<span>NOW WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO ABOUT THIS, SECNAV MABUS?</span>

Anon said...

read the article when it first came out.  it was an obvious spoon-fed hatchet job and smacked of UCI.

Kudos to the young LT for ignoring the "yes man" culture of the Navy and trying to do the right thing.  Hey Mr. Gittins - need an associate?

FDNF'er said...

It saddens me that I am not surprised by this.  I remember reading a similar article about this LCDR and I was disgusted by his actions.  As revolting as his performance was, the lack of accountability within the Navy that DIRECTLY caused this to continue is even MORE disgusting.  Where is the SECNAV and new CNO here?  This continued mistake is an excellent opportunity to prove to all of us that the senior Naval Leadership actually cares about integrity and will hold everyone accountable for their actions.  I want to buy this JAG LT a beer for holding to what is right.  In fact, I would like him to take DJAG's job.

John said...

Shakespeare was right!

Staff Puke said...

Do you think it has any relevance that for the past five years we have had SWO-trained officers in chrage of the JAG Corps?

Proud SWO said...

not just SWO-trained...SWO washouts.

the good SWOs stay SWO.  Once you go black (shoe) you never go back.

UltimaRatioRegis said...

What is it with you?  Some SWO really hurt your feelings, didn't he?

LCDR Black said...

Should the JAG LT in question visit this site, know that while people make fun of lawyers and/or speak ill of them, that it is recognized there are those that are outstanding battle buddies.  It sounds as if you are one.  Regardless of what the JAG community says, IMHO, it sounds like you'd be the type of SJA with whom I'd like to work.  Funny, that...  Honor, Courage, Commitment.  Yes, I believe I read that somewhere.  Fun to say, not always fun to actually do.  Look in the mirror w/ pride though.  You did the right thing.  Should you get out of the lawyerin' deal, there is always forensic accounting.  High speed, high drag tool for catching terrorists and other bad guys; so if you like the grind of due diligence and paperwork investigation, you can still contribute and get involved in some really cool stuff.  If this is a career killer, I am sorry to hear that.  The Navy would have lost a good one, IMHO.  Best of luck. 

Anonymous said...

Just making sure I am reading the story correctly - so the same Prosecutor that ignored the initial case is the Prosecutor that is standing up in disagreement with the white-washed punishment??

If so that is an incredible change of heart/attitude on this case.

Guest said...

NO.  Prosecutor #1 said no go to the case; Prosecutor #2 said no go to the deal and is facing "the wrath of Khan"

LCDR Black said...

Yes, I think you read that wrong.  Two different LTs.  As it turns out, they are all not quite the same.  Not all JOs are built from the same "stuff."  I think Phib tried to keep names out of this and as a result, we got the who's on first variant of LT 1 and LT 2. 

LCDR Black said...

BTW, above the fold at Blackfive:
"StrategyPage says there were 12,000 IEDs encountered last year in Afghanistan.  But they are on the decline as we disrupt the personnel and money traffic as well as develop new technologies (weekly it seems) to defeat them."  It discusses how the fund disruption has decreased the IED creation.  A combat JAG may dig that skill/mission set.  :)

Kristen said...

That's a very disturbing story.  I hope that Actus Rhesus will check in.  I'd like to hear how this looks from inside the JAG corps.

Kristen said...

Byron, good to know that he's doing better.  Good luck and God bless.

Anonymous said...

Did the fact that the serial rapist had a "minority-sounding" name have any impact on the decision not to prosecute in Japan?

Sean said...

Thanks for clearing that up. I clearly read the story wrong and was not sure how the prosecutor went from a flippant heartless bastard to someone telling truth to power.

Is one of the unintended side consequences of this story how the JAG command used The IA process to foist off this predator to some other command?

Perry said...

If I were Admiral Greenert, this would be a perfect case early in his tenure to jump in and show what he stands for.  It's almost tailor-made for it.

Actually, regardless of what he does, this case is going to show what he stands for, good or bad.

What I'd like to see:

- A full investigation, with all the facts made public (as far as allowed by privacy laws.  As far as that goes, it sounds like the victims would be willing to allow some of the facts to go public, since that is only expected given their lawsuit.  Also, I'm sure that the JAG in trouble would be willing to allow facts to go public.  A person's right to privacy can easily be waived by them; otherwise, anyone who goes on TV as a cancer survivor is violating patient privacy laws.)

- An explanation of his rationale for slamming/not slamming those involved.

- A non-punitive letter of reprimand to the JAG who decided not to prosecute, as an example of what happens to those who "go along to get along."  


It would be nice if everyone in the world always acted with complete integrity, but we know that's not the world we live in, and definitely not the current Navy culture.  If you truly want integrity in the Navy, you've got to regularly slam those who act without it.  For those not strongly rooted in integrity, the benefits of acting without it are very tempting.  As Voltaire said of Admiral Byng, "It is good to kill an admiral now and then to encourage the others."

Byron said...

Thanks, Kristen, appreciate the thought.

Anonymous said...

just so long as the next investigation is convened by someone neutral and not another JAG Corps investigating itself "nope, no problems heeeeeeere...now let's go shoot a few inconvenient JOs" cover up.

I'd really like to hear what other info prosecutor #2 could bring to the table.

Old Farter said...

We have already set a precedent for firing people well after the fact. Looks like this is a case that should be looked at further.

Guest said...

They already fired the RLSO CO and the Convening Authority retired, but here are some other names for the block:

1. The Hospital CO who let him go to Kuwait
2. Whoever was CO of the RLSO when no charges were brought the first time
3. The prosecutor who made that call
4. JAG/DJAG.  The VWAP ship ran aground on your watch. Stop blaming the JOs.

Guest said...

Interesting thought, but instead, the JAG will retire as a 3-star next summer and the DJAG will almost certainly be selected as 3-star JAG at a board in another month or so.

Grandpa Bluewater said...

He's THE Staff Puke, URR. No further explanation required.

And yes when possible, good (fill in the designator)'s stay 

ASWOJoe said...

If I remember correctly the word along the Yokosuka waterfront was that RADM Wrenn was asked to make USFJ his sunset tour because of the uproar over the deal he signed.  I've been following this case for some time and accepting the argument that the Admiral wanted a deal because of the cost of the case, I can't see why the RLSO or the Admiral didn't push for more confinement.  It's an absolute miscarriage of justice when you've sent barracks thieves and Absconders to jail for months or even years to let a man like that walk on 7 days (about 7 hours and 18 minutes for each victim that we know about).  Seems to me that a guy facing the kind of time he could've gotten would jump at a few years, especially since his jury would've been made up of Yokosuka UNRESTRICTED LINE CDR's and CAPT's.  Picture your CO and XO.  Now picture them having to take whole days away from the ship to sit in a jury box for that dirtbag when he'd been working at the hospital around their own wives, daughters, or girlfriends.  If they acquitted him it would only be so they could string him up outside the courthouse. 

Great message to send to the fleet Admiral, we're bombarded with messages about preventing sexual assault and then when fate drops a bona-fide sexual predator, and officer and doctor no less, a man who KNOWS BETTER into your lap you punt because you either don't have the scratch or don't want to ask the ISIC for more.  Shame on you, we expected better from a Line Officer, especially one who commanded CTF-70.  Those were your sailors he was doing this to, those were their family members.  I hope somebody enjoyed the new office furnature they bought with end of FY money that year.

As for the JAG Corps, Jesus where do you begin with that chain of fail.  Someone in that office made the case to the Admiral to take that deal, this rests on your heads as well and the coverup stinks to high heaven.  If it were up to me I'd bulldoze every single NLSO/RLSO and all of NLSC under and salt the earth that nothing would ever grow there again.  Keep the OPLAW types, most of them are probably salvagable and someone needs to tell me who and can and can't shoot in the face.  Maybe the Army can help us out while we take a few years to rebuild.

Vigilis said...

The CinC is typically a civilian lawyer.  What lawyers have done to civilian society (more divisive and litigious than ever) could also be done to military order and discipline were the CinC and JAG Corps leader-attorney to mutually squeeze. 

Washington's Continental Army had one attorney, who reported to Gen. Washington.  We have too many lawyers in the armed services. Just in time for the coming diviseness?

ASWOJoe said...

CO of the hospital was one CAPT Krentz at the time.

Grandpa Bluewater said...

What Kirsten said.

Guest said...

Ugh.  I hope Greenert realizes what he's leaving himself with.

Guest said...

Kristen,

I'm guessing that

a. AR isn't coming near this one with a ten foot pole; and
b. from inside the JAG Corps it looks as rotten as it looks from here on the porch.

OJAG Insider said...

should point out that the minor administrative errors that form the basis of the ethics complaint were committed by multiple other attorneys throughout the JAG Corps, to no consequence.  At this particular command, one attorney cited was subsequently promoted, and another was made JAG Corps Junior Officer of the Year.  This is because the unnamed trial counsel spoke to the CNIC IG about failures in the system.

Also, OJAG has known unamed prosecutor took and passed a polygraph since at least May.  And unamed prosecutor did provide documents corroborating the allegedly false statements...but OJAG has "misplaced" them.

Sad thing about this is, a lot of the senior JAGs see what it is, know it's wrong, and won't say anything because these errors were so minor that there but for the grace of god go any of us, and we now know what happens to squeaky wheels in the current regime.

cdrsalamander said...

That is a comment only a SWO could make.  Good God man - remind me not to pi55 you off ASWOJoe.

Casual Reader said...

Former JAG here.  Seems like the unnamed trial counsel has been put through a living hell.

I am surprised you had the courage to post this information.  Your head could end up on the neighboring pike. 

Casual Reader said...

AR would be a fool to comment

Retired JAG said...

Retired JAG here.  None of this surprises me.  OJAG invented lapdogging and bootlicking and the "kill the peasants" attitude has existed for years and on every issue.  There are two JAG Corps, the cheerleading one that lives in the Navy Yard in DC and everyone else.  The people in OJAG think they are the only ones that matter and are all too happy to slay anyone who threatens the Emerald Kingdom.  MilJus only becomes important when somebody screws up, and that assuredly happened here.  Anyone with any common sense in the JAGC either joins the Navy Yard cult or gets as far away as possible and finds some well connected line connections while doing OPLAW to keep the cultists at bay.  It is an extremely flawed and dysfunctional organization.  Why no Chief Trial Defense Counsel?  Because you could not control that guy.  If you want to let the Region people control the funding for courts-martials you need to have the balls to stand up to them when they do something stupid.  The current JAGC does not have that.  It shows in what happened in this incident and it showed ten fold in how the investigation of this incident was handled.  I have not heard anything but carmelized pablum from the JAGC HQ in 15 years.  Diversity--all in, Any other CNO cause de jour--all in, the Truth--er,...not so quick.  Sad but true.  Take a long look in the mirror inhabitants of the Navy Yard, it ain't pretty.     

Byron said...

AR has big shiny titanium ones....

Kristen said...

Well, ok.  I was thinking that she's anonymous on the Internet and could feel free to speak her mind, as the CDR did for so many years while he was active duty.  But you're probably right.  In any case, some JAG types have offered comments, and I've found them very interesting.

Byron said...

Curious...wonder why no one went to their Congressional representive? Or the IG? If that had been a lady from my family that doctor would have spent his sentence (and a bit more) in a hospital.

Byron said...

(what i do for a living)at comcast.com. Tried yours, didn't work...

Byron said...

Also, I find it appalling that the services designed to care for and protect our service members, it's judiciary and it's health system are so systemiclly flawed. That a sexual predator could go litterally scot free is beneath contempt, and that our JAG Corps can sleep at night without screaming at the highest mountain for justice is simply beyond the pale. Those of you in JAG that have the information, I ask you: why have you not gone public with this? Why have you not done your best to shame the system into fixing itself? Is there no justice for these women? Or are your precious careers too important to risk? Time to man up and put your big boy pants on.

Walter Ruxton said...

CDR,
   This is why I read your Blog everyday.  BZ.

V/r, WR

Anonymous said...

Byron, uh, shipfitter? Shipbuilder? Wharfrat?, Yardbird? Sandcrab? Guywhofixesstuffsailorsbreak?

cdrsalamander said...

Send me an email. I'll relay for 'ya.

John said...

Neither military nor justice are being served in this case.

SouthernAP said...

Well at least I know why I am wasting my time, my troops time and my deployment prep time going through the Sex Assualt training survey, the sexist sexual assualt remedial training (where everyone with the pen15 is automatically guilty of the crimes of sex harrasament/assualt even all they did was say your look nice today) and finally spending some of our time being retrained in how to properly have intervention in we suspect a sexual assualt has happened amongst our peers or co-workers. Yea JAG; thanks again for the damn reach around! >:o

Oh and if you don't think the Diveristy Freindship ciricle isn't reacting like a Pavlovian Dog to this, then my dear friend I have a bridge from Ok City to Singpore to sell you.

James said...

Remember we are watching and we will always remember byron........one day. Court marshal.

Great way to make the moral go up......

James said...

Reminds me of when they were taking the whole "pole" of the troops on allowing in gays.

Everyone i talked to said basicly the same thing. "We have to take it using our military accounts. They know who we are and how we voted.....so how do you think i voted".

You know you have a good trusting military culture when the troops expect you to act like the damn Red Army and its Commisars.

I feel like singing!!!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rPsL2WVhFCc

DeltaBravo said...

Don't get me started on Navy medicine...

DeltaBravo said...

Give him a permanent chair on the porch!

My Name here said...

CDR S, do you have an actual copy of the investigation?  That would be great for someone to post online. If you have it, post it! 

There seems to be a lot that you quote that is not in the public record (Navy Times, Stars and Stripes, etc...). 

SCOTTtheBADGER said...

BD, we shall have to remember to send hin nice things up on the porch edge goodies elevator.

Steel City said...

Put me in the not the least bit surprised category.  Anyone that has served on active duty and had to deal with NCIS at lesat three times has seen them muck-up at least one of those investigations beyond repair.  That's their ongoing batting average.  The best thing that could have happened is the spouse or relative of one of the victims to have met the doc after work outside the office.  That would have been my preferred sentence for him.

UltimaRatioRegis said...

NCIS.  Bad haircuts, Wash 'n Wear suits, and corfam shoes.  "We're from NCIS".  "You don't say!"

Byron said...

Back during the Walker spy scandal days, all the bars on Mayport Rd. outside of Mayport got flooded by "undercover" NIS agents. Not sure how many of you old Mayport hands remember places like Pete's Saloon or Freds Saloon, but an NIS agent stuck out like a whore in church. We'd sorta surround him, make friends and start buying him drinks...and making him drink with us. After he was good and properly drunk (and I do mean drunk) we'd set him down outside the bar so he could see all the cops out there waiting to catch a DWI. Eventually an vanilla sedan with Navy plates would pull up and take his drunk ass  home.

Fun days.

Guest said...

Very well said.  Current JAG, Houck, has been a yes-man who was "groomed" to become JAG for the past 20 years.  DJAG Nan Derenzi is, unfortunately, much the same.  Neither has the integrity to do the right thing here, and that's why this case has spiraled so out of control.  On top of that, their love affair with diversity and top tier law schools has severely changed the type of new JAG accession coming into the Navy.  Previously, we recruited accessions who would become good Naval Officers and happen to be lawyers.  Now, we recruit law school A-students, who don't necessarily have the characteristics we'd really like to see in a good officer.

Grumpy Old Ham said...

Does the Navy JAG billet not require direct Senate confirmation?  If not, perhaps it should...and doing so would provide an avenue to shine some light on this breakdown in the system.

Guest said...

"unamed trial counsel" spoke out and look what happened.

Is it any wonder anyone else in the community is too scared to talk?

Guest said...

EXACTLY.

An admiral does something stupid so you tar and feather a lieutenant?!?!?

Shame on the JAG Corps.

Andy said...

Dammit, Byron, that was me.  (Miserable js-kit)  OK, I think you're also over at Galrahn's, too.  Let's try and meet up there, this morning, on whatever is this morning's (1015 EDT) lead post.

Andy said...

Sal, will do, thanks

Byron said...

Like I said, man up and put your big boy pants on. Or is someones career worth more than a womans dignity and health? How about if it was <span>you</span> that got violated, sport?

C-dore 14 said...

URR, You forgot the part about trying to set up a "drug sting operation" aboard a ship without informing the CO.

Guest said...

"unamed trial counsel" DID go to the IG...that's why now the JAG Corps is screaming liar and trying to disbar.

The problem with the "professional responsibility" process is it's a kangaroo court with no external oversight.

Anonymous said...

NO such thing as a three star board and every officer above the rank of LT requires direct senate confirmation.  If you mean a hearing...no not usuually the case with GO/FO except COCOMs, Service Chiefs and VJCS and CJCS. 

C-dore 14 said...

ASWO, Compare the actions taken here with those taken by the USMC CA at Camp Lejeune several years ago when faced with a similar situation.  The accused, a retirement eligible Navy O-6 Dr. (and former Marine Corps officer) with only a fraction of the charges against him that this dirtbag had, pleaded guilty hoping to avoid dismissal.  The CA rejected that part of the deal and the accused received a fine, dismissal, and an all-expense paid trip to the U.S. Military Disciplinary Barracks at FT. Levenworth.

UltimaRatioRegis said...

Good Lordy.

I know, when they were NIS, they botched a major drug arrest at 29 Palms in 88 when I was there.

But now that they have Ziva.....

Never seen her in corfams with white socks and trousers two inches too short.  Never saw them in anything else.

C-dore 14 said...

URR, Occaisonally someone will ask me what I think of that TV show and I just shake my head.  I wonder what the real NCIS is doing now that they can't investigate homosexuals anymore.

SouthernAP said...

C-dore,

They are investigating why sailors are scoring constant 80s on advancement exams or chasing down romantic couples. I had a sailor in my work center investigated after he scored a perfect score each time on three of his advancement exams up to PO1. They honestly thought he was cheating with someone and to make matters worst the bastards came in while we were getting audited by the No-Such Agency for Comms security program compliance. So while one of my best workers and my number 2 on the program was without a clearance (since he was being investigated NCIS temporarly revoked his clearance! Was a mis-understanding from thier field office) I was trying to deal with an annoying Special Agent from NCIS and an equally annoying NSA officer over my security program. Not a fun week.

SouthernAP said...

Oh and I should add this kid was cleared when they found out that he had an endincit memory, or basically he remembered 90% of everything he read. So he could falll asleep on the oxford dictonary and then quote a passage someplace verbittem down to exactly how many elipises started and ended a quote.

UltimaRatioRegis said...

I was asked the other day, "Does NCIS really do covert ops and shoot people?"

Er, no.  Unless they have gotten a lot tougher about stealing slim jims and lite beer from the Seven Day Store.

My Name Here said...

All this assumes,however, that the unnamed LT did nothing wrong. I guess I will reserve my judgment until I get my hands on an actual report and could read what it says.  CDR S clearly has some inside skinny, but cites nothing with teeth

Casual Reader said...

There is a presumption of innocence, even in the military.  Please  reread the post - the post has more teeth than any article in the Navy Times or Stars and Stripes.

ASWOJoe said...

MNH,

you don't happen to work for OJAG do you?  the post cites what the LT "did wrong" . The LT didn't hand out a form, and called someone an asshole.  So why is it that one LT who makes the same error gets Junior Officer of the Year and the one who went against the deal gets attempted disbarment?

(and why does the JAG Corps even HAVE a JOY program? Why not just give everyone a trophy for participation?)

Caleb said...

I agree that there are some idiot NCIS agents out there, but it seems like the one in this case did his job. The article mentions he investigated the case also faced "significant reprisals" for reporting the problem in the RLSO. Wouldn't surprise me since JAG and NCIS inside the beltway have been in cahoots forever.

The Mikado said...

MNH,

You're letting your Beltway JAG slip show. The question here is not whether or not the LT did "anything" wrong.  Hot wash any evolution and you will find mistakes.  That's why those of us in the real Navy do lessons learned.  The question is whether the punishment fits the crime.  Here, as Sal has pointed out, the VWAP system was broken and defunct.  There was no instruction.  No guidance.  No oversights.  And multiple LTs got it wrong.  So why is it that some walk away unscathed, but the one who acknowledged the failures in the system is made a scapegoat?

And don't give me that malarky about "false staementes".  I read the article.  The allegedly false statements were about weaknesses in VWAP training.  If the LTs lying, why spend so much money after the fact fixing a system that supposedly wasn't broken?

Casual Reader said...

Because it takes our eyes off the ball.  The CO gave a series sex offender 7 days.  Got to blame someone.  Why not the one at the bottom of the food chain.

"False statements."  Really.  They pursue this knowing there is a polygraph clearing the trial counsel?

They spent more time and resources hounding trial counsel than they did pursuing the serial serial sex offender.  Disgusting. 

UltimaRatioRegis said...

Caleb,

You are right, he did, under adverse circumstances.  And there are some very good NCIS folks out there.  But some are so....  rent-a-cop.   And we can't resist taking a shot at their bad hair and lack of fashion sense.

Guest said...

the "significant reprisals" came AFTER the agent's IG statment was forwarded to JAG.

NCIS rumint is that there is a WPA suit pending.

My name here said...

Teeth? At least the stars and stripes and navy times quote an actual report, CDR S cites some nameless JAG. I have not read anything about a poly in any of the articles. Where does that come from?

Again, show me a report and i'll start buying what you're selling. Until then, you're just pissing in the wind.

Byron said...

Sounds like DiNozzo :)

UltimaRatioRegis said...

I would think a WPA suit would have a sledgehammer tied to it.  Rightfully so.

LCDR Black said...

Nameless JAG?  Due diligence if you please.  I think the only one nameless in this are the victims of the MULTIPLE sexual assaults that garnered a 7 DAY SENTENCE for the convited.  Follow the dots, take a look, it is all open source. 

Pissing in the wind?  Do you have a wife, daughter, female that you have mentored or care ANYTHING for?  You think a 7 day bit of time in the brig is sufficient for over 20 convicted sexual assaults?  The guy was convicted of these.  Hell, the latest rape conviction out of the USNA bought the guy a 6 month jail sentence (that seems light too).  So, if you aren't smelling the fishiness from this case then you are purposefully being obtuse.  Is there some hear say in this?  You betcha, it is sort of the nature of the beast having a blog.  Write the FOIA request and get the whole report.  Ask to nterview the horrible LT that actually SUCCESSFULLY prosecuted a serial sexual predator.  If you are a member of the JAG Corps, and you care about your community, this whole thing should piss you off.  As I read this, I see an administrative error (failure to offer a brochure) and then a failure to punish a convicted serial sexual predator.  Then, you need to question how the command acted after the news got out.  Remember, often, the infraction isn't the bad thing (we all make mistakes) the ensuing spin and cover-up is the bad thing.  Often, the initial infraction shows at worst incompetence, at minimum ignorance of the procedures, the other shows a lack of honor.  In this case, the initial mistake, if you will, by the command to sign a deal for 7 days is amazingly stupid and shows a true and calculated insensitivity towards the victims of the sexual assaults, the follow on actions and community reaction is troublesome.  Should I, as a sailor, trust the JAG Corps to do what is right?  The jury is out on that one (pun intended).

CDR Salamander said...

Soooooo, the story is about me!

Nameless to thee, but not to me. Ignore if you wish, no sweat off my back ostrich.

Guest said...

MNH,

not only is your OJAG slip showing...it's stained. >:o >:o

Retired JAG said...

Well, in the search for truth and integrity, I do now offer to help CDR S. obtain a copy of said report, maybe that will lead to another cover-up or two.  CDR S. if you are interested please respond to this and I will contact you via email.  Should be fun.

C-dore 14 said...

URR, For botched investigations by NCIS it's hard to beat the murder aboard USS MILLER (FF 1091) in '85.  Their mistakes in that case almost led to the aquittal of the accused.  After that they had a wholesale purge of the Newport office.  I, too, have met some decent and professional NCIS agents over the years although they were mostly the younger agents who were looking at NCIS as a "stepping stone" to better know agencies, such as the FBI.

Guest said...

I think we've settled that "My name here" is an OJAG operative.

Question for you: If, as the salamander points out, the report is just a JAG Corps circle jerk drafted by the OJAG Chief of Staff, what good would publishing it do, other than to give a forum for their self-serving drivel?

Guest said...

Certainly it requires Senate confirmation, but not a hearing.  And, there actually is a selection board for this 3-star position, which recommends a selectee to the SECNAV.  See 10 USC § 5148:  "<span>Under regulations prescribed by the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of the Navy, in selecting an officer for recommendation to the President for appointment as the Judge Advocate General, shall ensure that the officer selected is recommended by a board of officers that, insofar as practicable, is subject to the procedures applicable to selection boards convened under chapter 36 of this title."  </span>

Casual Reader said...

I am still in an active practice.  When I am looking at anyting, I want the whole report, including attachments.  And then I  want the responses.   But it appears from CDR S that OJAG released a bleached report.  Also some of the investigation here has been re-distributed (i.e. lost or misplaced).  Hard to recreate the official record when that record no longer exists.  In my state they call that spoilation.

LT B said...

In your profession, is spoilation corn infested or not?  It sure does smell like poo!

Retired JAG said...

Are you in a state or the District of Columbia?  The Navy Yard perhaps?

Anonymous for really good reasons said...

Confirmed.

One of the Velasquez victims is a named plaintiff on the DoD Class action suit Cioca v. Rumsfeld.  Oral arguments scheduled for November.  All the more reason to tar and feather individuals.   A large part of the lawsuit (which frankly I doubt will ever go anywhere) is about systematic failures...the same sort of systematic failures that were highlighted in this case.

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