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December 2009
Tim Bilecki

Army CSM in Korea Cleared of Sexual Misconduct Charges After Fraternization Plea

Abusive Sexual Conduct, Indecent Acts, Fraternization
Yongsan, Korea
Army Command Sergeant Major- E-9
One-grade reduction for fraternization, Not Guilty of all other charges. Full retirement

Maximum Punishment:

  • DD
  • 9 years confinement
  • Total forfeiture
  • Reduction to E-1
  • Federal felony conviction
  • Sex offender registration
  • Loss of retirement

Facts:

An Army Command Sergeant Major (CSM) was charged at a general court martial with abusive sexual conduct, indecent acts and fraternization following an incident that took place between him and his driver, an Army Specialist, inside their government vehicle.  

The situation began when the Specialist boastfully claimed the size of his genitalia and attempted to “prove it” by exposing himself to the CSM while driving. Responding to this inappropriate behavior, the CSM grabbed the Specialist’s ACU trousers and boxer shorts, instructing him to “put it away” and cease his actions. This interaction led to the Specialist alleging multiple sexual assaults by the CSM.

Throughout the investigation and the Article 32 hearing, the defense team, led by Mr. Tim Bilecki, a Korea military sexual assault defense attorney, successfully challenged the Specialist’s credibility. The defense exposed numerous inconsistencies and lies in his allegations, significantly weakening the prosecution’s case. However, there was evidence in discovery regarding the extent of the CSM’s and SPC’s relationship that would likely be viewed by a jury as fraternization.

Given the emerging evidence and the Specialist’s damaged credibility, the defense strategically decided to plead guilty to the lesser charge of fraternization as part of a plea deal. This plea was part of a toughly negotiated agreement with the prosecution after extensive pre-trial litigation. The agreement effectively dismissed the more serious charges of abusive sexual conduct and indecent acts.

Following the plea, a sentencing hearing was held where the defense presented substantial evidence of extenuation and mitigation. The CSM’s decision to plead guilty, combined with the effective defense strategy, resulted in a relatively lenient outcome, given the case’s complexity and the potential for more severe penalties. The CSM received only a one-grade reduction in rank for fraternization, no confinement and no punitive discharge.

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