By Catherine Valentine | CNN
“I am sorry. I have been sorry. I will always be sorry for raping you.”
In a 20-minute long phone call in 2013, Air Force Lt. Col. Michael Briggs confessed to raping SSgt. “DK” in 2005. After receiving a call from the victim, Briggs detailed how he went to her room after a long night of drinking, pushed himself on her and continued to have sex with her despite pleas for him to stop.
A recording of that call would be played in a military court in 2014. Briggs would be tried by a judge, found guilty and sentenced to five months in prison. He would be dismissed from the Air Force and registered as a sex offender.
It was understood, based on military law and reinforced through legal precedent, that there was no statute of limitations for rape in the military. Though the assault occurred in 2005, and Briggs was not accused for eight years, defense counsel did not even raise the issue of statute of limitations at trial.
But last year, the top military appeals court came to a different understanding. When presented with a separate rape charge brought years after an alleged incident, it found that a five-year statute of limitations existed before 2006. The decision eventually led to Briggs’ rape conviction — and the convictions of at least three other service members – being vacated.
This one decision has reverberated through the entire military court system. It has not only vacated convictions. It has prevented at least 10 new cases from being heard, the Justice Department says. This comes as #MeToo trickles through the armed forces.
The military is plagued by a 38% increase in sexual assault, reported by the Pentagon this spring, and grapples openly with how to prevent it. “It is a cancer within an organization, and we got to crush it,” now-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley said recently.
The Justice Department has asked the Supreme Court to review and reverse what it describes firmly as a “misunderstanding of the law.” Allowing it to stand would “subvert the military’s concerted effort to eradicate sexual assault, erode confidence in the military-justice system, and fuel the impression that ‘nothing will happen to the perpetrator.’”
It’s using the taped confession to get there.
In her first ever media interview, DK shared her account of the rape. CNN has agreed to not share DK’s name in order to protect her privacy.
She remembers the night in flashes.
She remembers going out to drink with a girlfriend. Drinking too much. She remembers a knock at her door after returning to Mountain Home Air Force Base in Idaho. Telling him no, pleading with him to stop. She remembers rolling her body away from him and struggling to get away. Michael Briggs pulling her back. She remembers the pain … the moment she gave up and passed out beneath the weight of him.
She also remembers the blood.
The following is from a
Source:: The Mercury News – Nation, World