UCMJ Article 120: Rape

At Bilecki Law Group, we defend service members against charges of rape under Article 120 of the UCMJ. We know there is more to the story and charges of rape do not automatically equate to guilt. 

What Is Article 120 Of The UCMJ?

Article 120 of the UCMJ governs charges and punishments regarding sexual misconduct that is alleged to have been committed by a service member of the armed forces. It defines both the sexual act in question and the manner in which that act was forced upon another.

What you most need to understand about Article 120 charges is that the current climate in the military is such that an allegation of rape is often all it takes to end a career. It is not right. It is not just, but that is the current climate.

This means if you are facing charges or investigation under Article 120 you need to get ready for a fight right now. Your innocence matters little to the military justice system that is coming to destroy you. Every command in the armed forces is under extreme pressure to root out legitimate sexual misconduct and that same command will roll over you to show that they are taking a hard stance. If you are facing these charges, it’s going to be a fight or the end of your career, retirement, and freedom.

The risks could not be greater. And time is running short. Call Bilecki Law Group TODAY to begin the process of protecting your liberties and your reputation before you lose them forever.

Can My Command End My Career, Even If I Am Innocent?

Winston Churchill once famously said, “The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is.” So let’s drop one more incontrovertible truth. That is the truth that not every service member charged with rape under Article 120 is guilty of rape. Malice can attack that truth and ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is.

We have defended some remarkably honorable service members against Article 120 charges and witnessed military judges, military juries, and even the commands that prosecuted come to the incontrovertible conclusion that they were innocent. So, we’ll say it again. To be charged with rape is not the equivalency of guilt.

That being said, we have also witnessed command look at a non-guilty verdict and then through administrative separation or General Officer Memorandum of Reprimand, end that service member’s career anyway. Again, you have to understand the current climate in the military, and you cannot count on your innocence to produce a just outcome. You must fight for what is right and what is just. This isn’t about us getting rapists off the hook. This is about our commitment to justice for all.

What Must The Prosecution Prove Under Article 120?

In order to get ready for this fight, you’ll want to understand in detail what elements and definitions exist under Article 120. Keep in mind that it is quite common that a sexual encounter did indeed take place and it is the consent that is now being questioned. Only an experienced court martial defense attorney will be able to wield these definitions in order to produce the incontrovertible truth. As such, we are going to list most of these definitions as they are written into the UCMJ.

Rape – For a service member to be found guilty of rape under Article 120, the prosecution must satisfy two specific elements, with the second further defined below. Those are:

(1) That (state the time and place alleged), the accused committed

(a) sexual act(s) upon (state name of the alleged victim) by (state the alleged sexual act); and

(2) That the accused did so by

(a) using unlawful force against (state the name of the alleged victim)

(b) using force causing or likely to cause death or grievous bodily harm to (state the name of the person alleged), to wit: (state the alleged force)

(c) threatening or placing (state the name of the alleged victim) in fear that (state the name of the person alleged) would be subjected to death, grievous bodily harm, or kidnapping.

(d) first rendering (state the name of the alleged victim) unconscious.

(e) administering to (state the name of the alleged victim) a drug, intoxicant, or other similar substance (by force or threat of force) (without the knowledge or consent of (state the name of the alleged victim)), thereby substantially impairing the ability of (state the name of the alleged victim) to appraise or control his/her conduct.

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Sexual Act – The UCMJ defines sexual act as the following:

(A) the penetration, however slight, of the penis into the vulva or anus or mouth;
(B) contact between the mouth and the penis, vulva, scrotum, or anus; or
(C) the penetration, however slight, of the vulva or penis or anus of another by any part of the body or any object, with an intent to abuse, humiliate, harass, or degrade any person or to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person.
Unlawful Force – an act of force done without legal justification or excuse.

  • Force: the use of a weapon; the use of such physical strength or violence as is sufficient to overcome, restrain, or injure a person; or inflicting physical harm sufficient to coerce or compel submission by the victim.
  • Grievous Bodily Harm: serious bodily injury. It includes fractured or dislocated bones, deep cuts, torn members of the body, serious damage to internal organs, and other severe bodily injuries. It does not include minor injuries such as a black eye or a bloody nose.
  • Threatening Or Placing A Person In Fear: a communication or action that is of sufficient consequence to cause a reasonable fear that non-compliance will result in the victim or another person being subjected to the wrongful action contemplated by the communication or action.
  • Consent:a freely given agreement to the conduct at issue by a competent person. An expression of lack of consent through words or conduct means there is no consent. Lack of verbal or physical resistance does not constitute consent. Submission resulting from the use of force, threat of force, or placing another person in fear also does not constitute consent. A current or previous dating or social or sexual relationship by itself or the manner of dress of the person involved with the accused in the conduct at issue does not constitute consent

Bilecki Law Group is offering you a fighting chance. If you believe that your liberties are worth fighting for, then contact us TODAY to set up a free consultation.  

What’s The Worst That Can Happen If Found Guilty?

The maximum punishment allowed under Article 120 is a dishonorable discharge, total forfeiture of all pay and allowances, life without eligibility for parole and a reduction in rank to E-1. A dishonorable discharge or a dismissal is a mandatory minimum sentence. If you are found guilty, the military will take everything from you, except your life.

This is a hell of a price to pay and a damn Greek tragedy for what started out as drinking in the barracks with a fellow service member and what you thought was a night of consensual romance. It has never been the case, in all the cases that we have fought and won under Article 120, that some Marine drop kicked the door open to a female Marine’s room and forcefully raped her. We’re sure it happens, but that’s just now allegations of rape in the military go down.

Now, victims of such rape do indeed deserve justice. However, destroying the life of an innocent man or woman is not justice. Unfortunately, the military justice system does not exist for the pursuit of justice. The military justice system exists to preserve order and military discipline. For that to work, they need to make public examples out of someone to scare others into compliance. That’s why they will still come after you and destroy you, even if you are innocent. If you don’t fight back, they will make that example out of you.

 

Bilecki Law Group will help you fight back against charges under Article 120b: Rape and Sexual Assault of a Child

How To Fight Back And Win Against Article 120 Charges?

We’ve been asked by other defense attorneys why we take cases around sexual assault when the climate is so hostile and the public backlash quick to take place. First, we remind them that the heart of our justice system in America relies upon adequate and competent defense. Second, we just start spouting off case after case of legitimately innocent service members that were about to have their lives destroyed before we stepped in.

Not to mention, it is not just men who are wrongfully accused under Article 120. Women have had their lives destroyed as well under this article. It is also the case that wrongdoing may very well have taken place, but that wrongdoing wasn’t rape. When some First Sergeant is out consensually playing hide the pickle with the new Corporal that transferred over, he is in the wrong. He should be held accountable, but he is not a rapist.

We like to think all senior enlisted or officers are these grizzled old men, but they are mostly just guys in their 30’s. Meanwhile, the junior enlisted are often in their mid 20’s. Meanwhile, boot Lieutenants were out partying with their frat boys just a couple of years back. We often forget just how young our military force really is and you simply cannot remove “eros” from the ranks, as much as we might like too. These young people should not have their lives destroyed for displaying poor judgment.

That’s why we are going to fight like hell in pursuit of the incontrovertible truth. We’re going to do our own investigation and if needed, we will shred any witness the prosecution puts on the stand to defend that incontrovertible truth. Especially, if we know that truth involves a service member making this allegation against you to cover up their own wrongdoing. It happens all the time in the military, because the UCMJ applies to the accuser as well.

If you are facing investigation or charges of Rape under Article 120, reach out to us and we’ll give you a free consultation. We will tell you exactly what you are facing and as long as you are willing to fight like hell for the truth, we’ll be right beside you. You’re not a rapist and you know it. If you want the world to know it as well, you are going to have to fight like hell. Get us into the fight and we’ll add your name to the long list of incontrovertible truths which proves that charges do not equate guilt.

More Sub-Articles of Article 120

Don’t just plead guilty… Fight Back !

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