There is no doubt that the military is continuing to place a huge emphasis on the stomping out of harassment and assault where fellow service members are concerned. While this is by and large a very good thing for individuals and the organization as a whole, it also means that innocent military members in good standing can occasionally get caught up in an overzealous dragnet.
If something similar is happening to you, you are right to be concerned. Not just your military career but your very freedom could hang in the balance. Below is some good information to know in the wake of false accusations.
Be proactive about protecting yourself
Accusations typically don’t arise out of the blue (although they can). An accuser might describe scenarios where the accused may have been present but not an actual participant or may have only been peripherally involved — if at all. In the heat of a traumatic moment, however, those important details can get lost or conflated with other ongoing events.
The best defense is to never allow yourself to be placed in any type of potentially compromising position with another service member, particularly a subordinate. Remember, if you weren’t there, you cannot be guilty.
Admit nothing. Offer no excuses. Discuss the situation with no one but your criminal defense attorney. This can mean letting the investigation play out without ever commenting. While you might want to shout your innocence from the rooftops, it is far better to allow your attorney to be your mouthpiece in these matters.
Conduct a parallel investigation
Your criminal defense attorney might recommend hiring an investigator to interview witnesses and conduct a parallel investigation. This could reveal your innocence, save your career and help clear your good name.