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Military...Sex...HIV...Rape...OH MY!!


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http://www.military.com/NewsContent/0,13319,157702,00.html?ESRC=dod.nl

 

 

QUANTICO, Va. - An HIV-positive Navy chaplain was sentenced Thursday to two years in prison after pleading guilty to forcible sodomy and other charges.

 

Lt. Cmdr. John Thomas Lee, 42, of Burke, Va., was sentenced after entering a plea agreement at his court-martial at the Quantico Marine Corps Base in northern Virginia. Lee admitted having sex with an Air Force officer without disclosing that he had HIV and forcing himself on a U.S. Naval Academy midshipman.

 

Marine spokesman Maj. Tim Keefe said after Thursday's hearing that nobody is known to have contracted HIV from Lee.

 

Lee, a Catholic priest, was assigned to the academy from 2003 to 2006 and later to Quantico. He was relieved of his duties in June.

 

The forcible sodomy occurred in the fall of 2004, when the midshipman was in his junior year. The midshipman, who was not identified, had previously received counseling from Lee, and said he allowed Lee to perform oral sex on him because he was intimidated by Lee's status as a chaplain.

 

"This was a priest. This was a guy who knew all of my darkest secrets," the victim, now a Navy ensign, testified during the trial's sentencing phase.

 

Lee was ordained as a priest in 1993 and began serving as a military chaplain in 1996. His faculties to function as a priest were revoked in June, after an accuser came forward, said Julia Rota, a spokeswoman for the Archdiocese of the Military Services, which oversees Catholic priests in the military.

 

In addition to sodomy, Lee was charged with conduct unbecoming a military officer, aggravated assault and indecent assault and fraternization.

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Sad story indeed. I'd say more but that would almost certainly get this post moved to the Politics, War and Religion Forum (a.k.a. the Pit of Despair) ;)

 

But I will say what I found really interesting were the 8 pages of comments/feedback that followed...

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I am always wary of sex related criminal cases where the terminology used in the legal process doesn't always square with the everyday definitions that are used by the public. For instance in this case, just reading the above report, it appears the "rape" or "enforced sodomy" amounted to the performing of oral sex, that is a blow job. It would appear the HIV+ chaplain performed the oral sex but perhaps it was the other way around although I doubt it. This is not known to be a high risk way for transmitting the HIV virus and indeed the young man has not tested positive.

 

I rather disdain the sensational aspects of this report. Of course the incident is unfortunate. But a little proportion is required.

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According to the comments, the chaplain could not be accused of rape under the Uniform Code, because the charge requires vaginal intercourse to have occurred. On the other hand, a charge of attempted sodomy apparently does not require anal intercourse to have been attempted/occurred, something I find vaguely disturbing...

 

As for the relative risk of HIV infection through oral sex, I expect that was a contributing factor to the relative 'lightness' of the sentence where he received 2 years, when the maximum sentence could have been life.

 

Still I would say that I find that kind of abuse of rank and office is a bit beyond 'unfortunate', I'd say disgusting. I do wonder though how things would have gone if it had been a civilian instructor with an instructor/professor and student, or a chaplain and student at a Catholic University for instance?

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>Still I would say that I find that kind of abuse of rank and

>office is a bit beyond 'unfortunate', I'd say disgusting. I

>do wonder though how things would have gone if it had been a

>civilian instructor with an instructor/professor and student,

>or a chaplain and student at a Catholic University for

>instance?

 

The UCMJ is way behind the times. I think the last time it changed was Don't Ask, Don't Tell. Before that, I think it was when women were allowed to serve. The military thrives on tradition, ever un-changing.

 

Your worry about abuse of rank is well-founded, and in the military justice system the fraternization charge is far more serious than the sodomy charge.

 

As far as sodomy as a charge goes, the dictionary gives these definitions (emphasis mine):

 

1. anal or oral copulation with a member of the opposite sex.

2. copulation with a member of the same sex.

3. bestiality

 

And we've seen plenty of evidence of how the Catholics handle things like this. x(

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>>The UCMJ is way behind the times. I think the last time it

>changed was Don't Ask, Don't Tell. Before that, I think it was

>when women were allowed to serve. The military thrives on

>tradition, ever un-changing.

>

 

Here's the coverage from the Washington Blade making much the same point in some respects.

 

http://www.washblade.com/2007/12-14/news/national/11720.cfm

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Good article. Thanks for posting it!

 

I've said here before that the military is a generation behind the rest of society. It won't change its position on gays until the guys who are serving today as Lieutenants move up the ranks and become the decision-making Generals. And it may not be today's Lieutenants. It may be the Lieutenants 10 years from now.

 

As that article points out, the decisions come from the top. Until the top has been replaced with more forward thinkers, there will be no change.

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Did you read any of the comments posted in the military news article? If not, go back to the original post and take a look. There's nine pages of comments that illustrates your point in some very scary ways. It's clear the comments are from active duty and retired military revealing an amazing level of confusion and out right stupidity about HIV, AIDS, and Gays in the military.

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Progress on this issue is so difficult to guage, one finds acceptance and denial in the strangest places in the US military. A few weeks ago I was struck by an interview Porn performer Brent Everett had with Jason Curious on KSEX. He was describing how he met his boyfriend, Steve Pena, who was then a Navy Corpsman stationed with the Marines in Camp Pendleton.

 

Apparently young Brent went and (illegally) lived on base with Steve for about 40 days and this arrangement was not only understood but accepted by the Marines sharing Steve's quad. Marines in the same Corps that produced the former Chief of Staff who made those remarks about how immoral homosexuality is earlier this year. And then there's the 60 Minutes show coming up about the Army sergeant who was under investigation for being gay, went and confessed to his CO and is still in the Army and uncharged.

 

These are good reminders that the US military is itself more strongly divided on the issue than a lot of people are willing to admit. :)

 

If John comes back to this thread he started, I'd really hope he might share his own impressions/experiences about his own service.

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That's a good illustration of the point I was trying to make, Alan.

 

Acceptance is present -- as much as it can be -- among the younger enlisted and officers, but it won't reach policy level until those serving in the entry-level ranks today reach the policy-making ranks.

 

The old-boy thinking still rules.

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Yeah, I read some of them. Didn't have time to read them all.

 

"Stupidity" and "Military" are words that go together naturally (and I was USMC at an earlier time in my life so I'm allowed to say it). They will always be a generation behind the rest of society.

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>That's a good illustration of the point I was trying to make,

>Alan.

>

>Acceptance is present -- as much as it can be -- among the

>younger enlisted and officers, but it won't reach policy level

>until those serving in the entry-level ranks today reach the

>policy-making ranks.

>

While I acknowledge your knowledge of the issue is heightened through your past service in the US military, something I obviously cannot match, I've noted that sometimes changes in military 'culture' will occur rather quickly, without requiring the generational shift you speak of. Of course such changes usually require strong leadership on the civilian political side, which has certainly been lacking in the U.S. on this issue. They also often require a war/conflict.

 

I guess that I'm trying to say that from my admittedly removed perspective as a foreign non-veteran is that I would be completely unsurprised if there was a sudden, considerable shift on this issue, before the current crop of lieutenants and captains 'grow up' to become Admirals and Generals.

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>I guess that I'm trying to say that from my admittedly removed

>perspective as a foreign non-veteran is that I would be

>completely unsurprised if there was a sudden, considerable

>shift on this issue, before the current crop of

>lieutenants and captains 'grow up' to become Admirals and

>Generals.

 

Nice dream, but it won't happen.

 

Remember the Chief of Staff who was fired (as mentioned elsethread) recently for calling homosexuality immoral? Gen. Peter Pace if anyone needs a reminder.

 

He was my commanding officer in the mid 80's -- 20+ years ago. It took this many years for him and his mentality to matriculate up through the ranks and get retired.

 

He wasn't fired for his views. Many who served with him share his views. He was fired because he got caught opening his mouth. If he'd successfully dodged that ONE question, he might still be serving.

 

Military leaders don't really give a rat's ass about who is currently Commander in Chief or what leadership comes from them. They all know that POTUS is a temporary job. Their first priority is to hold what they've got at all costs and keep it from changing in any substantive way.

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>

>Remember the Chief of Staff who was fired (as mentioned

>elsethread) recently for calling homosexuality immoral? Gen.

>Peter Pace if anyone needs a reminder.

>

>He was my commanding officer in the mid 80's -- 20+ years ago.

>It took this many years for him and his mentality to

>matriculate up through the ranks and get retired.

>

>He wasn't fired for his views. Many who served with him share

>his views. He was fired because he got caught opening his

>mouth. If he'd successfully dodged that ONE question, he might

>still be serving.

 

 

Same thing happened to Wesley Clark. He was forced into retirement by the JCS not for mouthing off about gays but for making statements that were impolitic about Nato and our actions in Kosovo. Damn near escalted the situation over there in the 1990's.

 

 

>Military leaders don't really give a rat's ass about who is

>currently Commander in Chief or what leadership comes from

>them. They all know that POTUS is a temporary job. Their first

>priority is to hold what they've got at all costs and keep it

>from changing in any substantive way.

>

 

 

The other interesting aspect is that these guys are usually the LAST ones to want to go to war. They certainly understand the human cost moreso than the civilian leadership no doubt. However, they will follow the chain of command and perform their duty professionally regardless of how they may feel about a policy.

 

By the time these guys make it up to the JCS level they've mastered the art of military politics. These are men with same value system and beliefs. Change is slow and it's generational.

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>The other interesting aspect is that these guys are usually

>the LAST ones to want to go to war.

 

Hugely true.

 

>However, they will follow the chain of command and perform

>their duty professionally regardless of how they may feel

>about a policy.

 

Also true which leads to .....

 

>By the time these guys make it up to the JCS level they've

>mastered the art of military politics.

 

It starts around the rank of Lt.Col.

 

Prior to that rank, ability and result causes promotion. Then they get in that weird zone where ability and result doesn't matter. What matters most is not saying that the General's wife's ass looks big in that dress.

 

As they move upward through the ranks, they actually get rewarded more for NOT doing what they did to get into the upper ranks. It's better NOT to lead or get results. It's better to follow.

 

It's the ultimate example of the Peter Principle.

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>I am always wary of sex related criminal cases where the

>terminology used in the legal process doesn't always square

>with the everyday definitions that are used by the public. For

>instance in this case, just reading the above report, it

>appears the "rape" or "enforced sodomy" amounted to the

>performing of oral sex, that is a blow job. It would appear

>the HIV+ chaplain performed the oral sex but perhaps it was

>the other way around although I doubt it. This is not known to

>be a high risk way for transmitting the HIV virus and indeed

>the young man has not tested positive.

>

>I rather disdain the sensational aspects of this report. Of

>course the incident is unfortunate. But a little proportion is

>required.

 

It's not that giving some guy a blow job without telling him you're HIV positive is a big deal. The big deal is that someone in a position of trust uses the position for sexual favors. As a physician, I'm well aware that having sex with patients is a big no-no. This is especially true for psychiatrists and others who have intimate details from the patient (or in this case, a chaplain).

I must say that in my job, fortunately, there's rarely any temptation. Most of my patients are either very old, very young, or somehow quite damaged. Only rarely do I get a hunk coming in with a sports injury. When it does, I know to keep my distance. I must admit, however, that I've often wondered what it would be liked if I were the ship's physician in a nuclear submarine, and I was locked in with a bunch of hunky sailors for months at a time with no other outlet. A Navy Captain friend once assured me that if I had been caught, they would have sent a helicopter from an aircraft carrier to pluck me out of that submarine, even if we'd been in the middle of the Pacific! }(

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I agree that being in a position of trust makes any unwanted sexual advances even more reprehensible and in my OP I should have made this point. I was focusing on the word "sodomy" which I found misleading in this case. As far as I am concerned, a few years ago when the Supreme Court overturned the sodomy statutes that were still on the books in states such as Texas, they should have instructed these states to delete this word completely from their statute books.

 

We've had a few high-profile cases of sexual assault here in the last few years that involved physicians. What was particularly appalling was the use of drugs by these physicians to render their patients helpless before assaulting them. IMO these guys should have the book thrown at them and get harsh sentences. Often they get off relatively lightly. Must be professional courtesy between judges and doctors. x(

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