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December 2021
Tim Bilecki

Bilecki Challenges Child Sexual Assault Charges, Reduces Sentence to 18 Months

Child Sexual Assault
Schofield Barracks, Hawaii
Army Sergeant First Class – E-7
Mixed findings, 18 months confinement, dishonorable discharge.

Justice presupposes that the accused will receive an adequate and competent defense. If any individual, guilty or innocent, fails to receive this adequate defense, then you simply cannot call the outcome just. When an Army Sergeant First Class (SFC) out of Schofield Barracks in Hawaii was charged with four specifications of child sexual assault under Article 120b UCMJ, a noted court martial defense attorney, Tim Bilecki, was called upon to provide such a defense.

The government was prepared to offer the SFC a 10-year minimum sentence in a plea agreement. There was simply far too much evidence the prosecution failed to consider, and trial by court martial was the only reasonable approach to provide a competent defense. On the word of the child and with zero corroborating evidence, the prosecution knew that a trial would ask questions that they would prefer not to answer.

The child in question had previously been diagnosed with Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) at the age of 7 after being removed from her mother’s care due to abuse and neglect. RAD is caused by high levels of complex trauma or chronic toxic stress during early childhood development. Children with RAD often exhibit hyper-vigilant behavior and attempt to control their caretakers, sometimes through deceitful and manipulative actions.

This child displayed symptoms of the disorder that manifested itself in promiscuous sexual tendencies, triangulation, fecal play, and violent outbursts. The defense believed the allegations of sexual abuse against the SFC were false and were made by the accuser to control her living situation. The alleged victim had recently moved from Hawaii to Colorado to be with family during the COVID-19 pandemic. She was feeling isolated and alone and wanted to remain in Colorado, where she had friends and family. The prosecution wanted to ignore the alleged victim’s RAD diagnosis when that diagnosis was always front and center.

There was no physical evidence, and the case was built upon the alleged victim’s word and the assumptions of friends and family. Unfortunately, the SFC may have made certain admissions of some guilt during the investigation that would later be used against him. This is a lesson for all on the importance of retaining competent counsel early in the investigation process.

With the obvious element of RAD injected into the trial, the SFC only received 18 months of confinement and a dishonorable discharge. Remember, the plea deal was 10 years minimum. Most important to the SFC was that by going to trial, he was able to retain his rights on appeal. He wanted to clear his name, and trial gave him that opportunity. It was a difficult case to defend, given the nature of the allegations, but justice demanded that Bilecki deliver his best. This is true of any allegation a service member may face, regardless of guilt or innocence.

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