Wednesday, April 17, 2013

 

Police shooter allowed to resign instead of facing rape court-martial

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. — Records show the Army commander of a former soldier who gunned down two California police detectives had allowed him to resign from the military instead of face a court-martial when he was twice accused of rape.
The findings are contained in Jeremy Goulet's criminal records obtained by The Associated Press on Tuesday. Goulet gunned down two Santa Cruz police detectives before being killed in a shootout on Feb. 26.
The records, obtained with a Freedom of Information Act request, show investigators from Wheeler Army Air Field in Hawaii where Goulet was a helicopter pilot found probable cause to prosecute him in 2006, but his commander allowed him to resign "for the good of the service" under other than honorable conditions instead of facing a general court-martial.
Under military law, commanding officers have the discretion to decide how to handle rape charges. On Tuesday, Rep. Jackie Speier introduced legislation that would change that, creating a separate office to respond directly to rape and sexual assault charges.
Speier, along with former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and other members of Congress demanded investigations into Goulet's Army discharge in the days following the attack on the Santa Cruz detectives.
"The epidemic of military rape and sexual assault is a damning indictment of the military judicial system's treatment of these cases," said Speier on Tuesday. "True justice demands impartiality which is absent in a system that relies on individual commanders who have no legal expertise to determine which assailants get prosecuted and which go free."
The 48 pages released by the Army Criminal Investigation command detail parts of their investigation, although the names of law enforcement personnel and the commander's remarks were blanked out by the military as a condition of releasing them.
In the first rape charge, the victim told investigators that on the night of the attack in April 2006, she woke up on her couch with a man forcing himself on her. She said she couldn't identify him because it was too dark but recognized his shirt. Goulet told investigators he had been at a party with the victim but denied the rape. The investigator concluded that while there was probable cause to believe Goulet committed the offense, there was insufficient evidence to prosecute him. Goulet's commander said his intent was to take less than courts martial action against him.
Less than six months after the first alleged attack, another woman reported Goulet raped her. In that case, investigators said there was probable cause that Goulet raped the woman. Goulet refused to answer questions, but a DNA sample was taken from his mouth. The investigation was dropped after DNA taken from a swab of his mouth did not match evidence from the scene.
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