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Air Force Academy Major found not guilty

By Chase Golightly
Published  7:26 PM

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) — After seven hours of deliberation, a panel of eight officers handed down a not guilty verdict for Major Elaine Christian.

Maj. Christian was accused of abusive sexual contact, abuse of training leadership position, and two specifications for dereliction of duty at the Air Force Academy. Prosecutors claim the major sexually abused a female cadet in 2019 and gave cadets under the age of 21 alcohol.

The trial lasted for five days and on Sunday a military court-martial acquitted Maj. Christian of all charges according to officials with the Air Force Academy.

Rtd. Army General Demoted After Conviction For Years-Long Sexual Abuse Of Daughter

KEY POINTS

  • Grazioplene’s daughter filed a complaint against him in 2015
  • The charges were dismissed by a military court in 2018
  • Last year, a Prince William County grand jury convicted him

A retired Army major general has been demoted to the rank of second lieutenant, a year after he pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting his daughter.

“The Secretary of Defense changed the retired grade of then-Major General James J. Grazioplene, United States Army Retired, to second lieutenant after determining that second lieutenant was the highest grade in which he served on active duty satisfactorily,” Pentagon spokeswoman Lisa Lawrence told Army Times in an email Monday.

“This action may not be appealed,” she wrote. But, Grazioplene will maintain any benefits or privileges authorized for retired officers in the grade of the second lieutenant.

It was in 2015 that Grazioplene’s daughter Jennifer Elmore reported the rape and abuse to the Army CID agents at Fort Bragg in North Carolina.

An investigation was carried out by the military and in 2017, court-martial proceedings were initiated, though the allegations were three decades old.

The Army charged him with six counts of violating Article 120 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice over the rape of a minor between 1983 and 1989.

During the military hearing, Elmore had detailed the horrific abuse she suffered at the hands of her father. “At 3, he led me to the dark, dirty basement of my grandmother’s house and put me on the washing machine and pleasured himself while molesting me,” she said in a victim impact statement, as reported by Law and Crime.

“At 8, he bought me a piano and insisted on taking me to piano lessons, all so he could park and take whatever sick pleasures that he so desired. The same horrors occurring as he regularly insisted on bathing me. It took me until college to be able to use a bar of soap.”

But the charges were dismissed. A ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces in another case effectively limited the statute of limitations in Grazioplene’s case to five years.

However, Prince William County grand jury indicted him in late 2018 as the prosecutors in Virginia were not bound by the statute of limitations for crimes that allegedly occurred while Grazioplene and his family were stationed in the state.

He was arrested in 2018 and charged with rape, incest and aggravated sexual battery. He pleaded guilty to a single count of sexual battery and in return, all the other charges were dismissed. In 2020, Grazioplene was given time served with a suspended sentence of 20 years.

court verdict

Jury selection begins in Air Force Academy Major court-martial

 

types of court martial Summary Court-MartialCOLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO)– A general court-martial is underway in the U.S. Air Force, for a female major now facing sexual abuse charges.

Jury selection began at 9:30 Tuesday in the case of Major Elaine C. Christian. She is charged with one specification of an alleged sexual contact, abuse of training leadership position, and two specifications for dereliction of duty.

Prosecutors claim the major sexually abused a female cadet in 2019. Prosecutors told prospective jurors Tuesday that the reported victim will testify in court this week.

Christian is also charged with giving alcohol to cadets who weren’t 21 yet.

The prosecution asked potential jurors Tuesday about their views on sexual assault and past experiences with sexual assault.

Meanwhile, the major’s defense team asked the juror pool how they thought someone’s mental health could have an impact on their ability to make a fair ruling.

The trial is expected to last four to five days, and opening statements are expected to begin Wednesday, June 9.

If found guilty Christian would have the choice of who would sentence her: A judge or a panel of military members.

If that happens, she told the judge Tuesday she wants to be sentenced by military members.

Sailor filmed women secretly

US Naval Forces Central Command headquarters in Bahrain
A FORMER US Navy personnel stationed in Bahrain has been found guilty of using his mobile phone to film female service members in a private area. Navy records showed that former Chief Boatswain’s Mate Douglas Lusk pleaded guilty to two specifications of disorderly conduct during a special court-martial in San Diego .

Soldier faces Court Martial for Sexual Misconduct

The Gazette is reporting a former soldier at Fort Carson is facing numerous counts of sexual misconduct. Army lawyers allege Sgt major Benito Perez Jr had sexually inappropriate online communications with an underage girl, and convinced women to disrobe while he exposed himself. He has also been charged with inappropriately touching a female private and asking her for lewd photos. Army prosecutors say Perez allegedly took these actions while he was stationed at Fort Carson, and bases in Indiana and overseas in Kuwait. Prosecutors are also looking into reports involving a number of underage girls between 2013 and 2017. A formal court martial will begin June 7th.

Recon Marine accused of dumping stolen grenades, thousands of rounds of ammo into California ravine

 

Recon Marine accused of dumping stolen grenades, thousands of rounds of ammo into California ravine

A Marine sergeant in the 1st Reconnaissance Battalion will go to court-martial this summer on charges he dumped several stolen grenades and more than 10,000 rounds of ammunition into a California ravine.

Sgt. Gunnar Naughton has been charged with dereliction of duty, obstruction of justice, wrongful disposition of military property and other charges related to an alleged theft of ammunition from Camp Pendleton over several months starting in the fall of 2020, according to a charge sheet provided to Task & Purpose. The 28-year-old Marine operator “willfully failed to safeguard ammunition on Range 110,” the charge sheet said, “as it was his duty to do.”

Naughton, who was arrested on Feb. 4 and is now confined in the Pendleton brig, is also accused of stealing about 840 rounds of 5.56 mm ammunition and allegedly had “powder used for blasting” in his off-base residence. It appears, however, that Naughton is not the only person involved in the alleged theft. Officials acknowledged to Task & Purpose that a Marine corporal was under suspicion but they declined to provide his name.

“Adjudication is ongoing regarding the other individual from 1st Reconnaissance Battalion with preferred charges,” said 1st Lt. Kyle McGuire, a spokesperson for 1st Marine Division. “This is the extent of the releasable information I can provide on this individual at this time.”

ABC 10 reported in March that at least five reconnaissance Marines were under investigation for stealing explosives and ammunition from the base after one allegedly tried to sell ammo online to federal agents in the course of a sting operation.

Recon Marine accused of dumping stolen grenades, thousands of rounds of ammo into California ravine
U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Gunnar Naughton, a reconnaissance Marine with 1st Reconnaissance Battalion, 1st Marine Division, ties a knot to hold himself in place while rappelling, during a helicopter rope suspension technician (HRST) masters course at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California, Dec. 6, 2019. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Brendan Mullin)

Meanwhile, Naughton’s charge sheet says he allegedly removed ammo cans from the residence of a staff sergeant on Feb. 2 “in an attempt to obstruct” justice in the case of the corporal, whose name is redacted. On the same day, Naughton allegedly told a Navy petty officer to delete communications on his Whatsapp and Signal apps in a similar attempt to obstruct justice for the corporal.

Then on Feb. 3, Naughton allegedly dumped several grenades and tens of thousands of rounds into a ravine in Fallbrook, California. The following ammunition is listed on the charge sheet:

  • 6,000 rounds of .45 caliber with an estimated value of $2,041
  • 3,724 rounds of 5.56 mm with an estimated value of $1,079
  • 1,826 rounds of 9 mm ball with an estimated value of $401
  • 200 rounds of 9 mm hollow point with an estimated value of $70
  • 120 rounds of 12 gauge with an estimated value of $60
  • 160 rounds of 12 gauge breaching ammunition with an estimated value of $350
  • 80 rounds of frangible 5.56 mm with an estimated value of $31
  • 2 “military grenades” with M213 fuse (which is used in fragmentation grenades)
  • One M83 smoke grenade

Prosecutors also accused Naughton of disposing of a 9mm Beretta pistol but later dropped the charge.

Naughton was set to go to trial on Friday morning, according to the western Navy-Marine Corps court docket. But a Marine official told Task & Purpose the court date has since been moved to July 1.

Naughton joined the Marine Corps in January 2015, according to military records. After completing boot camp and initial training in September 2015, the Manhattan, Kansas, native was assigned as a chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear defense specialist with the Marine incident response force in Indian Head, Maryland tasked with responding to nuclear, biological, chemical and other attacks on Washington. He joined the 1st Reconnaissance Battalion in November 2019

Army staff sergeant sexually assaulted junior female soldier and sent her naked photos of himself promising he could help her career, court martial hears

  • Staff Sergeant Kareen Thomas allegedly sent his junior colleague penis pictures 
  • Colleague ‘felt she couldn’t complain because she was ”respecting his rank”’
  • SSgt Thomas denies two charges of sexual assault and a third charge of sending inappropriate text messages including two pictures of his penis

A British Army Staff Sergeant sexually assaulted a junior female soldier and sent her naked pictures of himself while promising to help her career progression, a court martial heard today.

Staff sergeant Kareen Thomas allegedly told his junior colleague he could help her get onto a training wing which she had ‘aspirations’ to join before sending her two pictures of his penis.

The female Lance Corporal – who cannot be named for legal reasons – told the court she did not feel she could complain about SSgt Thomas’s behaviour at first because she was ‘respecting his rank,’ the court heard.

Staff sergeant Kareen Thomas (pictured) allegedly told his junior colleague he could help her get onto a training wing which she had 'aspirations' to join before sending her two pictures of his penis

 

Staff sergeant Kareen Thomas (pictured) allegedly told his junior colleague he could help her get onto a training wing which she had ‘aspirations’ to join before sending her two pictures of his penis

The female Lance Corporal - who cannot be named for legal reasons - told the court she did not feel she could complain about SSgt Thomas's (pictured) behaviour at first because she was 'respecting his rank,' the court heard

 

The female Lance Corporal – who cannot be named for legal reasons – told the court she did not feel she could complain about SSgt Thomas’s (pictured) behaviour at first because she was ‘respecting his rank,’ the court heard

SSgt Thomas of the Royal Logistics Corps is also charged with two incidents of sexual assault after kissing the woman without consent and grabbing her hand and brushing it against his penis.

She told the court she had considered SSgt Thomas a ‘mate’ because he ‘wanted to help (her) career’ but he then made the unwanted advances.

SSgt Thomas (pictured) of the Royal Logistics Corps is also charged with two incidents of sexual assault after kissing the woman without consent and grabbing her hand and brushing it against his penis

SSgt Thomas (pictured) of the Royal Logistics Corps is also charged with two incidents of sexual assault after kissing the woman without consent and grabbing her hand and brushing it against his penis.

SSgt Thomas allegedly drove to her house to discuss her career and then drove her to a nature reserve and asked for a hug.

The woman said she agreed to hug him but then he ‘snogged’ her neck.

Prosecutor Rupert Gregory told the court martial: ‘As he hugged her, he kissed her neck as she already turned her face. She then wiped off the kiss on her neck, he laughed and drove her home.’

While the pair were then based in Cyprus, SSgt Thomas offered to take her to a cash point.

The court heard that instead, he drove her to a beach to look at the view – even though it was pitch dark – where he grabbed her and forced her to sit on his lap before putting her hand in his crotch.

The woman said she first thought something was wrong when SSgt Thomas parked his minibus far away from her accommodation when he had picked her up, but told herself it was nothing to worry about.

She said: ‘I said to myself ”you are going to a cashpoint with a Staff Sergeant it is going to be fine”.’

Describing the incident, she added: ‘He had control – he had the keys, I was in another country and I could not run away.’

staff sergeant army

The trial at Bulford Military Court (pictured), Wiltshire, continues

SSgt Thomas also sent her a naked photo before the beach incident and another one after.

The female soldier said he later messaged asking why she was giving him ‘evils’ at work and said ‘is it because you are missing this D,’ in reference to the pictures.

The woman said it was ‘awful’ for her as she had made it clear that she did not want the photos.

The court heard he later called her to explain himself but the woman said she was so angry at the unwanted attention by this point she told him ‘do not talk to me anymore.’

staff sergeant army

‘Even though I was crying it felt good to stand up to him because I was always respecting his rank and going with the flow.’

As a result, she decided to request a transfer.

She told the court: ‘I just had enough and I wanted it to end and I just wanted it to stop.

‘Unfortunately, it has had to come to this. I am still in shock that this is all going on.’

SSgt Thomas denies two charges of sexual assault and a third charge of sending inappropriate text messages including two pictures of his penis.

The trial at Bulford Military Court, Wiltshire, continues.

Chicago gun trafficking scheme targeted additional Fort Campbell soldiers, feds say

 

 

Chicago mass shooting

CHICAGO (WLS) — When Chicago police found numerous guns at a mass shooting crime scene in the Wrightwood neighborhood in late March, it led authorities to U.S. Army soldiers running what they call a “gun pipeline” from Fort Campbell in Kentucky to Chicago.

Federal law enforcement authorities say the trio charged in the conspiracy purchased at least 90 guns which were sold and sent to Chicago. In federal court Friday afternoon, authorities revealed that the three soldiers charged were investing their gun profits to try to recruit other Army service members into the scheme.

The guns allegedly trafficked by the three soldiers charged were sold at a 60-percent markup; for $1,700 per pistol during sales to Chicago buyers, a federal agent testified in court Friday. Court documents allege the trio bought more than 90 firearms between September 2019 and April 2021, with the majority of the purchases taking place in the past five months. Court documents link five of the straw-purchased firearms to the March 26 mass shooting and serial numbers from additional gun boxes found during a search of Miller and Adams’ residence to other Chicago gun crimes.

It was also revealed during the court hearing that Miller is currently facing an Army court martial on sexual assault charges. Authorities said text messages between the soldiers and Chicago gun buyers back up the scheme and that two of the Army service members personally made trips to Chicago to deliver the illicit weapons.

Brunson’s attorney declined to comment to the I-Team. Adams and Miller’s attorneys did not respond to I-Team requests for comment.

It hasn’t been revealed who was actually buying the guns on the Chicago end of the deals or what connection there may be to the one man charged in the mass shooting case. He was wounded and found with a gun according to police.

Soldier, 29, who grabbed two female colleagues’ bottoms to ‘lighten the mood’ during a parade but said it was ‘just banter’ is found guilty of sexual assault and jailed for two months

  • ‘Smirking’ Phillip Ewart, 29, pinched the women within minutes of each other
  • Tpr Ewart told Bulford Military Court in Wiltshire that it was just ‘banter’
  • The court martial board found Tpr Ewart guilty of two charges of sexual assault

A soldier who grabbed the bottoms of two female colleagues while they were on parade to ‘lighten the mood’ has been found guilty of sexual assault and jailed for two months.

‘Smirking’ Trooper Phillip Ewart, 29, of the Household Cavalry pinched the women within minutes of each other as they stood by his side at Windsor Barracks.

When asked to explain squeezing the women’s behinds, he told Bulford Military Court in Wiltshire that it was just ‘banter’ and he would have done it to a male colleague as well.

But after deliberating for two and a half hours, the court-martial board found Tpr Ewart guilty of two charges of sexual assault.

Sentencing him to 60 days in military prison, Assistant Judge Advocate General Alistair McGrigor told Tpr Ewart: ‘You said there was no element of sexual intention but the court found there was an element of sexual gratification on your part.’

In a statement, one of his victims told the court that the incident had affected the way she works because other troopers ‘judge her.’

She said: ‘I think that because of this I cannot work in the same way I did before. I also think that other troopers will think and talk differently around me.

‘I am worried this will happen again and there is nothing I can do to prevent it from happening again.’

Trooper Phillip Ewart of the Household Cavalry pinched the women within minutes of each other as they stood side by side at Windsor Barracks

 

When asked to explain squeezing the women's behinds, Tpr Ewart told the court it was just 'banter' and he would have done it to a male colleague as well

Trooper Phillip Ewart (pictured arriving at Bulford Military Court) of the Household Cavalry was found guilty of two charges of sexual assault

Defending, Chris Jenkins labelled Tpr Ewart’s behaviour ‘ill judged’ and described him as an ‘idiot’.

Mr. Jenkins said: ‘Trooper Ewart behaved like an idiot, (the acts) were done as an ill-judged foolish attempt to make a nuisance of himself out on parade.’

He added: ‘He thought because his guy friends would think it funny then they probably would too. It is because he is an idiot that he thought that would be transferred on to his female friends.’

Mr. Jenkins said Tpr Ewart felt ‘sick to his stomach’ when the women did not take his actions as a joke.

Referred to as ‘trusted guardians of the monarch,’ the regiment is one of the most senior in the British Army.

The court martial heard the troopers had been called out on Sunday morning parade, but as they lined up, one of Tpr Ewart’s victims – who cannot be named for legal reasons – told the court he grabbed her behind.

‘I did not feel explicitly comfortable at first but we were on parade so I thought I will deal with the matter afterwards,’ she said.

Tpr Ewart (pictured arriving at Bulford Military Court) denied groping the women and claimed he had just 'tapped' them

‘He shrugged his shoulders when he smirked and then faced the front away from me. A few minutes later he did the exact same thing to (the other trooper).’

His second victim said: ‘I felt really shocked and disgusted which is why I directly faced the left and asked what just happened.

‘I asked it directly to Trooper Ewart and I said it quite aggressively because of how I felt and no one said anything.

‘I was just in shock and so much emotion came over me – I was really overwhelmed – that I just burst out crying.’

A witness, Trooper Monja Danischewsky, told the court Tpr Ewart quipped after the incident that he was ‘only trying to lighten the mood.

The court heard the soldier had later sent the second woman a Whatsapp message after the incident to apologize and explain that he needed to remember he did not work in a male-dominated environment.

In court, Tpr Ewart denied groping the women and claimed he had just ‘tapped’ them.

He told the hearing he thought he had a friendship with both of them which meant it was okay for him to touch their bottoms and that his male colleagues had a ‘similar sort of banter.’

The trooper also told the court there was no specific reason for one of the incidents other than ‘she was there.’

When asked to explain his behavior, he said: ‘(I was) just being an idiot to be honest. It was a joke taken the wrong way.

Bulford Military Court banter

Bulford Military Court in Wiltshire heard that all three troopers were serving in the training wing of the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment when the incident happened

‘It was nothing more than a brief tap and there was no sexual motivation behind it at all.’

He added: ‘It was just a wrong time, wrong place, heat of the moment thing. There was no specific reason other than she was there.

‘It could have been a male colleague. There was no difference between male and female at all.

Tpr Ewart went on to say it was due the ‘nature of the friendship’ he believed he had with both of them that he thought it was okay to grab their bottoms.

He said: ‘I would not have dreamt of doing that to someone I had just met five minutes ago.

‘I (did it) as (I would) with my male colleagues mucking around and having the same kind of banter.’

Prosecuting, Sol Hartley challenged Tpr Ewart on his claim that he did it for a joke.

‘If this was just for amusement you could have tapped them on the back or on the shoulder couldn’t have you?’ he asked.

‘You could have flicked their ear but you did not flick their ear you grabbed their buttocks and you did that because it was sexual and degrading for those two didn’t you?’

3 Fort Campbell soldiers charged after guns traced to Chicago shootings

Three U.S. Army soldiers at Fort Campbell have been charged with transporting illegal guns to Chicago after several firearms found at the scene of a mass shooting in the Windy City in March were traced back to purchases made in Kentucky and Tennessee.

Credit: File Photo

Men accused of purchasing guns in Tennessee, Kentucky then supplying associates in the Windy City.

Three U.S. Army soldiers at Fort Campbell have been charged with trafficking guns to Chicago after several firearms found at the scene of a mass shooting in the Windy City in March were traced back to purchases made in Kentucky and Tennessee.

Demarcus Adams, 21; Jarius Brunson, 22; and Brandon Miller, 22, were arrested Tuesday by agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives with assistance from the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Division, reports said.

Each is facing multiple federal charges, including transferring firearms to out-of-state associates, making false statements while purchasing firearms, money laundering, conspiracy, wire fraud and selling guns without a license.

All three enlisted men stationed at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, could be sentenced to 20 years in prison if convicted.

Federal prosecutors allege that multiple guns bought and sold by the soldiers were used in several shootings in Chicago, including an attack at a party on March 26 that left a 27-year-old man dead and seven others wounded in Wrightwood, a neighborhood on the city’s Southwest Side.

The ensuing investigation found that five of the firearms recovered at the scene had been purchased from several dealers in the Clarksville, Tennessee, area, outside Fort Campbell, according to the office of Mary Jane Stewart, acting U.S. attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee.

Further investigation revealed that Adams, Brunson and Miller were the “majority purchasers” of the guns, and that Miller provided the weapons to his associates in Chicago, prosecutors alleged in the criminal complaint.

The soldiers allegedly purchased at least 91 firearms from multiple federally licensed dealers near Fort Campbell beginning in September 2019, investigators said. Most of the guns exchanged hands over the last five months in Clarksville, Tennessee, and in the Kentucky cities of Oak Grove, Hopkinsville and Paducah.

It was unclear how the firearms were transported across state lines to Chicago, which is about a seven-hour drive north of the base where the 101st Airborne Division is stationed.

Federal agents executed a search warrant last Friday in Clarksville at a home shared by Miller and Adams. Inside they found 49 empty firearms cases, some which matched to firearms found at the crime scene in Chicago.

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Miller was already facing a court martial at the military installation for an alleged sexual assault, reports said.

He and the other two soldiers are scheduled to appear in federal court next Monday.

So far this year, there have been 209 homicides in Chicago, mostly due to gun violence, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

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