A junior Marine was flirting with a married Staff Sergeant, and when the Staff Sergeant confronted her on the matter, she claimed that he sexually assaulted her. The alleged victim claimed that the Client came into her barracks room around 0600hrs and began to sexually assault her, while she was talking on the phone with her parents back in the States.
The claim, on its face, lacked credibility. The alleged victim also claimed that the Client sexually harassed and stalked her months prior to the alleged sexual assault. At trial, she testified that she gave the Staff Sergeant, “stalker status,” whatever that meant.
Mr. Bilecki tried the case and exposed an NCIS investigation that failed to administer even the most basic steps to uncover exculpatory evidence. At trial, Mr. Bilecki cross-examined the lead NCIS agent and revealed that law enforcement:
Did not begin its investigation until nearly five weeks after the allegation,
Made no attempt to recover any physical evidence from the crime scene,
Failed to collect the alleged victim’s clothing,
Did not collect DNA, and
Made no effort to retrieve any phone records.
All of which would have been exculpatory.
After the Article 32, Mr. Bilecki demanded that her cell phone undergo forensic review by law enforcement so that the exculpatory text messages could be recovered. Conveniently, between the date of the Article 32 and when the alleged victim’s phone was seized two weeks later, the pin connectors on her iPhone were broken.
However, during cross-examination, whenever Mr. Bilecki asked her a tough question she would respond with, “I don’t remember” or “I don’t recall”. The defense counted at least 35 times when the alleged victim answered, “I don’t remember”, or, “I don’t recall”, during cross-examination.
Many of these memory lapse responses were to simple questions, the truth of which would have revealed the falsity of the allegations.
After a weeklong trial, the panel acquitted the Client of all sexual assault charges.