Air Force sexual assault case dismissal outrages senators

Lawmakers question decision to drop charges after conviction

Air Force sexual assault case dismissal outrages senators

Lt. Col. James Wilkerson, then-80th Fighter Squadron commander, gets into his F-16 Fighting Falcon to fly a simulated combat sortie in April 2011 during RED FLAG-Alaska at Eielson Air Force Base. Wilkerson was convicted of sexual assault but the conviction was later dismissed. (U.S. Air Force/Staff Sgt. Thomas Skinkle)

Huffington Post

WASHINGTON — Senators demanded answers on Tuesday from senior military leaders on why an Air Force commander dismissed charges against a lieutenant colonel after he was convicted of sexual assault.

"Do you really think that after a jury has found someone guilty, and dismissed someone from the military for sexual assault, that one person, over the advice of their legal counselor, should be able to say, `Never mind'?" Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., asked Marine Corps Gen. James Mattis, the top officer at U.S. Central Command, at a Senate hearing.

Mattis explained that commanders, including female commanders, have the authority to act for a reason. "And I would just tell you that I would look beyond one case," he said.

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