Army accused of allowing soldiers charged with violent crimes to evade justice
April 12, 2023

According to Army Times report, Army officials have used provision in military law allowing for administrative discharge rather than court-martial for soldiers

The U.S. Army has been quietly discharging soldiers charged with violent crimes, according to a recent report by Army Times. The practice of using administrative discharges instead of court-martials has come under scrutiny from critics who argue it allows soldiers to avoid accountability and potentially continue their behavior in civilian life.

According to the report, the Army has been using a provision in military law that allows for an administrative discharge rather than a court-martial for soldiers charged with offenses such as assault, sexual assault, and murder. Administrative discharges can result in less severe punishment and less publicity than court-martials.

The investigation found that soldiers who are accused of heinous crimes are being discharged under the Army’s “chapter” system. This system allows commanders to discharge soldiers for a variety of reasons, including misconduct, substandard performance, and medical issues.

See related: “Army Launches Discharge Review Webpage

Soldiers who are discharged under this system are often given honorable discharges, which can make it easier for them to find employment in the civilian world.

The investigation also found that soldiers who are discharged under the chapter system are often not prosecuted for their alleged crimes. In some cases, charges are dropped altogether, while in others, soldiers are allowed to plead guilty to lesser charges in exchange for a discharge.

One of the soldiers discharged under this provision was Tony Thomas, an Army specialist who was accused of sexually assaulting a female soldier while both were stationed in Alaska. Thomas admitted to the assault and was discharged from the Army, but he faced no criminal charges and was able to start a new life as a civilian.

The Army’s use of the chapter system has come under criticism from victims’ advocates, who say that it allows soldiers to avoid accountability for their crimes. They argue that soldiers who are accused of serious crimes should be prosecuted through the military justice system, rather than being discharged and allowed to walk away from their alleged crimes.

Victims’ advocates say that more needs to be done to address the problem. They are calling on the military to reform its chapter system to ensure that soldiers who are accused of violent crimes are held accountable for their actions.

While the Army has said that administrative discharges are appropriate for cases where the evidence does not support a court-martial or where a court-martial would not serve the best interests of the military, critics argue that the practice allows soldiers who have committed serious crimes to avoid accountability.

In addition to concerns about accountability, the Army’s use of administrative discharges has also raised questions about whether soldiers who are discharged in this way are being appropriately screened for mental health issues that may have contributed to their criminal behavior.

In response to the investigation, the Army issued a statement saying that it takes allegations of sexual assault and other violent crimes seriously and that it has made efforts to improve its handling of such cases. The statement also said that the Army is committed to ensuring that victims of sexual assault and other violent crimes receive the support and assistance they need.

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