Our client, an Air Force Staff Sergeant, met the complaint witness on the Tinder dating application while he was attending an Air Force paramedic course in Tucson, Arizona. At the time our client was TDY to Davis-Monthan Air Force Base (DMAFB), Arizona. Our client and the alleged victim then connected via FaceTime to see one another and talk. Among other things, they discussed rough sex and “trying new things.” The following day, the two went back to the alleged victim’s residence where they had consensual rough sex. Our client left the following morning without incident.
The next day, the Staff Sergeant joined his classmates at a local bar in Tucson and everyone Ubered home after drinking. That same evening, the alleged victim attended a party with some of her friends. She claimed to law enforcement to have consumed approximately one shot of cherry vodka and a couple sips of beer before calling an Uber to meet up with our client for a second consecutive night. According to the alleged victim, she met up with our client in order to “hook up” with him at his room on DMAFB. Shortly after her arrival, the two again became intimate. Initially, the two got into bed and began to kiss. This led to oral and anal copulation, which led to digital penetration, which led to both parties performing oral sex on each other simultaneously. This was followed by digital anal penetration, which was followed by attempted, but unsuccessful, anal sex. After the unsuccessful attempt, the parties had intercourse until completion. After which, both parties fell asleep together in bed. The following morning, after waking up, the parties again engaged in sexual intercourse. Afterwards, they showered, gave each other a hug, and the alleged victim departed.
Three days later, the alleged victim made an allegation to local law enforcement that she was sexually assaulted by the Air Force Staff Sergeant. The incident was referred to AFOSI. This is yet another classic example of a completely consensual sexual encounter between two consenting adults who met on a dating site turned into a sexual assault allegation. Our client adamantly denied the allegations to law enforcement, who simply refused to believe him, no matter how absurd the allegations were. After realizing that AFOSI did not have his best interests in mind, he retained court martial lawyer Tim Bilecki to represent him. For reasons that are simply beyond comprehension, the investigation took over one year for AFOSI to complete. Nearly a year later, the alleged victim told the Air Force that she no longer wanted to prosecute the case because she would rather study abroad in Europe. The government then informed the defense team that it did not intend on prosecuting the case. Shortly thereafter, her study abroad program was cancelled due to COVID-19 and she then informed the prosecution team that she still “wanted to go forward.”
Disregarding the merit of the case, the Air Force preferred charges against our client for forceable sexual assault and an Article 32 hearing was scheduled. While many military and civilian attorneys often advise service members to waive the Article 32 hearing, we typically do not. Instead, our office used the investigation we previously conducted and drafted lengthy and aggressive RCM 405k matters for the Preliminary Hearing Officer to review. Mr. Bilecki then made a compelling argument to the PHO as to why the charges did not meet even the low standard of probable cause. The Article 32 Hearing Officer agreed with the defense, and drafted a scathing report stating that the allegations did not even meet the low standard of probable cause and that the charges should be withdrawn and dismissed. Ultimately, the Convening Authority followed the recommendation of the PHO and all charges were withdrawn and dismissed.