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July 2023
Tim Bilecki

Case Result: SAPR Challenges Lieutenant’s Defense

Allegations: Abusive Sexual Contact, Sexual Harassment, Failure to Obey a Lawful Order
Sasebo, Japan
Navy | Lieutenant Junior Grade, O-2
Sexual Assault Case Adjudicated at NJP and LOR for Article 92 violation

The military’s Sexual Assault and Harassment Prevention (SARP) campaign has changed the military and not always for the better. While it was created with noble intent, the execution has led to a culture where allegations are treated as fact and even mere rumor is enough to ruin a career. Such was the case for a young Navy Lieutenant Junior Grade (O-2) stationed in Sasebo, Japan.

In June of 2022, the LT was out drinking at Cindy’s Getaway with fellow officers. The night then continued to Sunflower Bar where a chance encounter led to the end of an officer’s career. Another officer accused our client of putting his hand on her leg and propositioning her. Our client denied these claims and stated that the actions were consistent with how people lean in to talk inside a noisy bar.

The situation escalated when that same officer accused our client of dancing inappropriately with her on the dance floor. Again, this a crowded bar where people are consuming alcohol and dance floors can quickly push people into one another. Furthermore, we’re not sure what an “appropriate” dance looks like apart from the middle school rule of keeping others arm’s length apart.

With formal inquiries into the allegations commencing, the Lieutenant retained attorney Tim Bilecki to come to his defense. Understanding the gravity of the consequences in the era of SAPR, Bilecki sought to guide this case towards Non-Judicial Punishment (NJP). The reality is that there were conflicting accounts of the night’s event and there was an absence of independent witnesses.

It was clear that the command and prosecution were looking for an easy win to look tough in the era of SAPR and they were not trying to uncover facts, look into the Lieutenant’s prior character or consider that the accuser could be making this up for her own purposes. As a result of Bilecki’s work, the case was kept at the NJP level as a court martial would have been more devastating. However, the command needed to look tough, and they proceeded with administrative separation based on a violation of Article 92. Dismayed that this is what the military has become, the Lieutenant willfully chose to exit the service.

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