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November 2023
Tim Bilecki

Retaining Military Sex Assault Lawyer Early Makes All the Difference for PV2

Sexual Assault
Grafenwoehr, Germany
Army Private – E-2
Court martial charges not preferred. Honorable discharge.

There are two things that you simply will never be able to remove from military culture. The first is alcohol, and the second is eros. That is sexual attraction between young adults, and yet alcohol is often right in the mix. For a young Private in Germany, that reality almost cost him his career, freedom, and self-worth.

This particular Army Private was stationed in Germany, and he was falsely accused of sexual assault under Article 120 of the UCMJ. The accusations arose after a night out with a fellow soldier, which eventually led to sexual activity in the Private’s barracks room. Naturally, as would be the case with any Private’s night ending that way, he thought he had died and gone to heaven. The young man woke up in the morning and felt like he was winning at life, but little did he know his world was about to be turned upside down.

When the alleged victim’s friends found out about the encounter, they began to deride and question her. Instead of taking responsibility for her choice, she falsely claimed she was too drunk to consent. Aware of the Army’s Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention (SHARP) program, the friends led her down a path to make a claim of sexual assault. Conveniently for the alleged victim, this would simultaneously expedite a transfer out of Germany.

Unfortunately for the alleged victim, the young Private secured the services of Bilecki Law Group early in the process. Bilecki obtained CCTV footage that showed the two Soldiers walking hand in hand while the alleged victim covered her face from the camera. After all, she didn’t want her own trouble with the UCMJ. That’s a very conscious decision for someone supposedly too inebriated to decide.  

The footage also revealed the alleged victim leaving the barracks room the next morning after kissing our client goodbye. Look, many a service member has awoken to the shenanigans of the night before and said, “Help.” But kissing them on the way out the door, well, that’s a choice. The footage made it abundantly clear that this was not a case of sexual assault but good old-fashioned post-coitus regret. It’s a thing, look it up.

Bilecki’s team worked closely with the trial counsel and presented the exculpatory evidence. Mind you, this was evidence that would have been happily overlooked by military prosecutors. The SHARP program has righteous intent, but when it is elevated above the basic principles of justice, it can do a great deal of harm.

It was this client’s early retention — we’ll say that again — early retention of competent legal counsel that saved this man’s life. The evidence was always there and right on the tape, but you just needed competent personnel to ask for it. The result for our client was that charges were not even preferred. That’s right, the kid never stepped foot into a court martial because he acted early.

False allegations happen, and SHARP, while noble in intent, has made them dangerous. You just can’t let a false allegation go unanswered because the military justice system will destroy you. As we said at the start of this case study, you can’t remove either alcohol or eros from a military where you actively recruit men and women in their late teens and early 20s. You must be committed to finding out the truth of what occurs during these encounters. Anything less isn’t right, and it sure as hell isn’t justice for the genuine victims of abuse. Truth must reign supreme, and you are going to have to fight for that truth if you are charged with sexual misconduct during the SHARP era.  

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