Article 120 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice is undoubtedly one of the most well known UCMJ articles. This punitive article prohibits rape and sexual assault and defines consent according to highly scrutinized standards. Article 120 was put in place to protect innocent victims from sexual assault and to foster general goodwill among service members by fostering a military culture that is safe and secure. The sad reality, however, is that there are many innocent military members who have been falsely accused of rape and/or sexual assault. These soldiers have very little support or protection offered to them. While members of the military may technically be “innocent until proven guilty,” it often ends up looking a lot more like “innocent until accused.” If you’re facing legal issues, the team at Military Trial Defenders can help.
False Allegations are Still a Problem
It doesn’t matter how many military officials deny it, false allegations of rape and sexual assault are still a huge problem. Military members are deeply aware of this fact. According to one report produced by the Defense Department Inspector General, approximately 73% of women and 72% of men at the military service academies believe that false accusations of sexual assault are a problem. The problem doesn’t just exist in the academies, however. It is military wide.
Pertinent Definitions from the UCMJ Articles
As outlined by UCMJ article 120, here are the definitions of sexual misconduct charges:
Article 120a – Rape, sexual assault, and other sexual misconduct:
Causing someone to engage in a sexual act by force, by causing bodily harm, by threatening death, bodily harm or kidnapping, by rendering a person unconscious, administering by force or without the person’s consent an intoxicant that renders him or her unable to consent to sexual activity.
Article 120c – Aggravated sexual assault:
Causing another to engage in a sexual act by threatening or placing that person in fear (other than that listed in Article 120a), causing bodily harm, or engaging in a sexual act with a person incapable of understanding, declining or otherwise unable to consent to the sexual act.
Defending Against False Allegations
At Military Trial Defenders, we work to defend our nation’s heroes against injustice and unfair treatment. Have you been falsely accused of rape or sexual assault? We can help and coach you through the best defensive steps. We often remind our clients of the rights afforded to them by the UCMJ articles. Article 31 offers military members the right to avoid self-incrimination. If you have been accused of a crime, you should not offer a statement without advice from a military attorney. If you are worried that your commander will think you are guilty if you do not make a statement, don’t.
As mentioned in the introduction, the overarching military mentality is that the accused are guilty until proven innocent. Don’t feel like you need to fight this overwhelming battle on your own. We are here to fight with you and to fight for you. Contact our office today for more information.