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Pentagon launches Catch program to identify serial sex offenders in the military

[stripes.com – 8/5/19]

WASHINGTON — The Pentagon has launched a new program that aims to find serial sex offenders in the military by compiling information into a database submitted by sexual-assault survivors.

The program, called Catch a Serial Offender, or Catch, allows survivors of sexual assault who are submitting a restricted report to provide information confidentially about the sexual assault incident as well as the accused offender to military investigators so they can try to identify serial offenders, according to the Pentagon announcement released Monday.

The program was first announced in May by former Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan in a memo about the Defense Department’s actions to address and prevent sexual assault in the military. It came after the release of the Fiscal Year 2018 Annual Report on Sexual Assault in the Military, which found sexual assaults against female troops have increased by 44% since 2016.

Read more

 

Related links:

Pentagon needs help to ‘CATCH’ serial sex offenders [connectingvets.radio.com – 8/5/19]

 

Join the discussion

  1. Eric

    Look at some illegal images on the computer that somebody posts on the internet and in short you will have a dozen agents fully armed ripping your door down and taking you away. Post a 20 page manifesto of your diabolical plan to shoot innocent people, that along with selfies on FB of you holding guns and you will mysteriously go unnoticed by the feds. Too bad they government can’t put the same resources to help curtail the real crisis in our face as it does in the witch hunt for those elusive predators that are everywhere.

    • TS

      @Eric

      As I reported here recently with an article from Reason.com that DOD was the largest USG entity viwer of CP, the respective investigative military services would be best served looking in the mirror and inside their own to ensure they are doing the best to stem the tide that the FBI puts out there but won’t admit to it. A self-licking USG ice cream cone there…

      Of course, they won’t stop the USN from pulling into Pattaya Beach, Thailand either like they did not stop the USN, USMC, and USAF from visiting Olongapo City in the PI back in the day to feast their eyes and other things on the people offering services…

  2. Mike G

    Wanna bet that it will take only one accusation to get someone labeled a Serial Sex Offender?

    • TS

      @Mike G

      In the US Military, anything is possible like that even though it does not make sense mathematically.

  3. Dustin

    And I’m sure there is a procedure to weed out false claims as well. [/sarc]

    • TS

      +1 @Dustin’s comment and snark….

      When there is one that is weeded out, you will never hear of it anyway….it is counterproductive.

  4. Suspiro

    “A restricted report is for servicemembers, as well as their adult dependents, who want to report a sexual assault without having to initiate a law enforcement investigation or notify their command. … A survivor can change their restricted report to unrestricted to start an investigation.”
    During the Middle Ages, this was accomplished with a hole in the side of the church, for people to slip notes.

    “The Catch system is operated by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service…”
    Coming to a TV episode soon.

  5. kat

    So when does the “accused” get some say in all of this.
    Just to play devil’s advocate for a moment, there seems to be a lot of sexual encounters in the news lately that start out consensual and then for whatever reasons, guilt, regret, etc., end up with one party accusing the other of sexual assault. Only those two parties actually know what took place.

    In this case the Pentagon seems already poised to label those reporting assaults as “the victims” and those accused as “serial offenders” before anyone has had their day in court.
    What a justice system we have!

    • TS

      @kat

      Welcome to the UCMJ of the DOD (& Coast Guard)!! This is a very political game being played with people’s lives in the uniform. Money every year is withheld from the services for lack of action and promotions are not granted at the higher levels when Congress decides to place with holds on them until further investigation, etc. See the current VCJCS nominee issue at play in the media and Congress and notice when more info comes forth, some very prominent Congressional members decide to be absent when the data is revealed from investigations and maintain the same drumbeat of there is not enough being done. The accused does not get the same protection and notification of a report and is denied their due process. I want to know if this will follow the military member from base to base, assignment to assignment, killing chances for promotion and other special duty assignments which take competitive nominations to go through. To my brothers and sisters in (or formerly in) uniform who have been screwed by the system know what I am referring to.

      Notice, this has the illusion it is only for females as noted by the statistic given in the article, yet, there is more than that who are impacted by SA in the military. It could give you the idea that men are the perps against women whereas men on men, men on women, women on men, and women on women can happen, but it the statistic does not delineate that.

      The problem is the jurisdiction here: against the military member by another military member or their adult dependent (e.g. spouse regardless of gender). The non-military member cannot be report in the system because the UCMJ does not apply to them, even on a military installation whether it be in housing or the commissary, etc. The other problem is it could get turned around on the military member if they have a problem with the aforementioned people and report something. There are promotions and awards related to the number prosecutions which are successful as well as successful investigations. Those in place would deny that, but I give you the recent awards given (and quickly retracted by higher level direction) the USN personnel who prosecuted the Special Operator Chief Petty Officer even though they lost on greater than 90% of the charges and only got a win on a photograph taken (which is not actually something uncommon by those down range even when frowned upon).

      I am going to get off my soapbox now on this but it is this really is a Charlie Foxtrot of a deal!

    • Tim in WI

      Kat,
      Good point and very relevant in my state. https://www.channel3000.com/news/cephus-asks-for-readmission-to-uw-madison-following-not-guilty-verdicts/1106446294

      The man was found not guilty. He had excellent representation because of his high profile.
      Some still believe the victims as completely w\out culpability. That story is also on the source’s site.

  6. Political Prisoner

    I am glad I retired when I did. Now if a junior service member does not like what their higher ranking person tells them to do they now can file these reports and ruin that person career.

    • TS

      @Political Prisoner

      You mean like the current Army Colonel from USSTRATCOM who has a history of unsubstantiated allegations (which can be researched online) and has accused the current VCJCS nominee? To think, this Modus Operandi is not new to the US Military structure regardless of gender…

    • wonderin

      Every day I’m forced to endure news about people who seem to believe personal responsibility only applies to other people. No one wants to suffer but it’s up to someone else to protect them from the harsh realities of life.
      There was a time in my memory where people were allowed to learn from their mistakes and reflect on what they could have done better to avoid negative results.

      • Mike G

        @wonderin

        RCs may “learn from their mistake” and they may “reflect on what they could have done better”, but they are not allowed to recover from their mistake, no matter how miniscule it was in the overall scheme of things.

  7. ab

    Here’s an idea, how about not letting people into the military who show signs of being more likely than others to engage in these behaviors? By now there’s got to be a general roadmap for noticing early risk factors that should be able to be screened for and helped not become anything truly worrisome prior to something bad happening. Rather than approve at risk individuals for boot camp give them recommendations for mental health services in their area. It might feel nice in the short term catching people who’ve done something, but that doesn’t solve the root problem of reducing future instances in the first place.

  8. Looking for Answers

    Let’s not forget the fact that if the US military doesn’t have numbers to present to Congress to prove they are tough on prosecuting sexual assault they will get them one way or another. There is case after case in the military of them bringing cases to trial without any evidence of assault at all (and with a nearly 90% prosecution rate) or scaring the soldier/ sailor/ airman into taking a plea deal. Often the motivation does include allowing the “victim” to PCS anywhere they want, and often the “victim” is cheating on their husband or wife and fears getting caught.
    I’m not trying to say that there are no sexual assaults or rapes in the military, of course there are and of course they are terrible, but I know of many women who have falsely accused men to get what they want because, let’s face it, no Commander would ever dare question a “victim” and the system is completely stacked against the supposed “assaulter”.
    The jurors are all competing with the accused for rank and the Commander is hell bent on prosecution so he can write on his OPR that he brought “justice” to the court. So what are they going to do?
    Additionally, the military investigators are often known for contaminating the “crime scene”, planting evidence and making criminals when they don’t have enough of them.
    Sting Operation tactics that civilian police stopped using years ago are alive and well in the military. They use pictures of women well into their twenties for their stings and, in at least one occasion, sent a 23 year old “decoy” to entice an Air Force Airman at the base gym so he believed he was talking to a woman and not a girl. Then they prosecuted him for “Sex Abuse of a Child” and kicked him out of the Air Force. He will, of course, have to register as a sex offender and the Air Force OSI agent gets tons of medals and accolades for ridding the military of a sex abuser. They have successfully used these methods to prosecute many, many service members, including those deployed overseas and on Ambien (which the Air Force gives them to sleep while they are receiving IDF) and when they are horny and online looking for horny women to talk to. They are being directly targeted. And this is by their own.

    • TS

      @Looking for Answers

      1) Tell me more about the Ambien angle you mention, please.

      2) Also, there is a case at the USAFA where a SOF pilot stationed there is having a hard time with his wife in the middle of their divorce about child custody and abuse allegations from her that could result in a registry listing for him. Use anything to get custody and him kicked out.

  9. JohnDoeUtah

    Well, seeing that my conviction was under the UCMJ, I’ll put in my two cents. Any of these reports are enough to press pause on a service member’s career. As soon as a formal investigation is opened, anything and everything (promotions, awards, etc.) are placed on hold. They also will likely get your security clearance suspended as well, but defense counsel fixed that issue. They will also talk to just about everyone in your work area as part of their investigation, and everything will get turned around on you. They will even coax many of your closest friends into cooperating in a pre-text phone call. Also, they do not need a warrant to commence active surveillance on you (all they needs is base commander, not a judge, to sign off) even off base.

    Not that any of that helped them in my case. All the evidence they needed against me was going to be born in 5 months. He is now 14 and a well adjusted young man who treasures his time with his father.

    But, any report, made by anyone, even at a different base, is enough to wreak a career. Due to competition in certain career fields, you can bet that this will be misused. The military culture is rife with alpha types that likely will rub most people the wrong way, even in conversation. Most are elitist and full of themselves and their service to branch and country. I know cause that was me, until I was shown otherwise. Conflict is rich in a highly competitive environment where points and reputation matter, and that opens the window for abuse of these situations.

    Also, this is a sad situation for all the Jody’s out there. All it will take is one unfaithful spouse to turn on your when her service member finds out what she’s been up to, and with who, while he has been deployed. She’d throw ya under the bus in a heart-beat.

    • TS

      @JDoeUtah

      Learned tonight a 3 star blue suiter was denied a fourth star because of what wasn’t seen done under their command back when in the past. Only takes one elected official to catch wind and bang, the past haunts even when it was done by AFI, etc.

  10. Looking for Answers

    @TS
    The Air Force gives it’s people the drug Ambien while deployed to overseas war zones. It helps with the constant shift changes and the ability to sleep during all times of the day as the schedule dictates. It’s handed out by the medical group- usually in small baggies and they do try to limit the amount one is given at a time. One Airman deployed to such a location was on Ambien and started chatting online with someone he thought was the twenty-something woman in the photographs she was sending him over an app for adults. Long story short, it was an Air Force OSI agent who was talking to him. He (the agent was a he) was sending him non age-regressed pictures of another OSI agent female. He did at one point in the chat say he was underage, but the pictures and the chat implied otherwise (The agent in the picture also had a large, visible arm tattoo and looked in her twenties, not young teens). The Airman did mention in the chat he was on medication and woozy. The AGENT turned the chat in a sexual direction and asked in the chat for the Airman to send an obscene photograph of himself. The Airman did, and was charged with Sexual Abuse of a Child because of “lewd Pictures” and “lewd language” to a “child”.
    It was brought up in court that the Agent had acted outside of his scope in many aspects. He had never received any ICAC (Internet Crimes Against Children) training at all, the actual operation in which OSI agents were trying to catch internet sexual predators was in fact over, he was supposed to only talk to Airman within a radius of his stateside base, not those overseas in a war zone. He was supposed to age regress the picture and take off (or cover) any tattoos that might confuse Airman who were online wishing to talk to adults. The chat mentioned the Airman was on a drug. The chat also showed that the agent had violated the OSI rules by asking the airman to send inappropriate pictures instead of the other way around or him leading the inappropriateness. The agent broke pretty much every law on the OSI side but the military is known for taking cases to trial when they shouldn’t because it’s a closed system and they can win. Judges and the prosecution will receive medal after medal, even if they are considered “not successful” in fully prosecuting a service member (all anyone has to do is see the numerous articles written about Eddie Gallagher’s prosecutors to see evidence of this).
    It took 3 years to take this case to trial. The prosecution blundered all the way there, but managed to secure a military judge that wouldn’t even let the defense lawyers speak. The system is designed not to find out the truth or even take criminals out of the service or protect people. The system exists simply so the military can take numbers to congress and that they can put on their OPR that they won in some way by ruining peoples lives.
    As @JDoeUtah said they will do everything in their power to try and ruin your life and career in the meantime. Friends/coworkers/exes/girlfriends/bosses/commanders/neighbors/relatives/anyone will be told terrible things about the accused and they will comb through everyone they know to see if there is anyone willing to testify against them or, even better, accuse them of something else. Security clearances are sometimes taken away right at the accusation. Anyone with even a remote amount of power in the squadron who has any beef with the accused will immediately barge their way into his/her case and start trying to isolate him/her from everyone else. There isn’t anything that OSI won’t tell them either and pretty soon everyone is talking about it and deciding the accused guilt even before their day in court. So do you really ever think anyone in the military ever gets a fair trial? Those jurors are not strangers from all walks of life who don’t know anything about you. They are from your base and they are all competing with you for rank and money. It behooves them to get rid of peers.
    An accusation is all it takes. If it goes to court people in the squadron are urged to show up and watch like a public execution. In the case of the Airman above he had several friends and family who were all willing to stand up for him and felt like he was innocent. The prosecution JAGs called all of those people and, in at least one case, threatened their military career as well. They will stop at nothing to ruin anyone.
    This is why I don’t trust the United States military anymore. At one time I was proud to serve but after seeing too much of this I am just trying to retire and get out of there. I would never let any child of mine join the modern military as it stands right now.

    • TS

      @ looking for answers

      Been there, got the UCMJ wounds, scars, and t-shirt from the same corrupt system you describe. Just beware, you never really retire until 60. Your retirement is deferred pay until they can’t nab you back onto AD, but they could ding you with a letter in your file. (Kansas case decided pay which you can look up as well as US v Larrabee showing it too). I’d not recommend any family look at the US DoD at all given this horrible system.

      • Looking for Answers

        @TS- I absolutely agree. But know that you are not alone. I stand with my boyfriend who has all of the UCMJ wounds also. I know the system is jacked and I (even as a woman) do not agree with all the crap the Air Force feeds us about all women in the military being victims and all the men we work with being predators. They can try and ruin me all they want, and I’m sure they have tried and are trying still. I just stand for the truth and for God and country. I will fight for my comrades who have been mistreated as long as my heart beats.

        • TS

          @Looking for answers

          Thanks for the Ambien angle and reassurance I am not alone with those who also suffered at the hands of the corrupt DoD UCMJ system. I know of the Ambien angle and the lack of DoD wanting to address it. Another story for another day.

          I will leave this editorial for you and others here (inc Janice who is a USN vet) by a UCMJ lawyer who discusses the politicization of the UCMJ and in particular Article 120, etc by Congress. It is fugly what is happening. I know of a former UCMJ USMC civilian atty who quit from doing military cases in 2011 when he saw the writing on the wall of the direction being headed. Many military members are being railroaded in the name of good order and discipline under suspect guises while those who are real internal threats under these Articles are not. Crazy! Op-ed: Different spanks for different ranks? https://www.navytimes.com/news/your-navy/2019/08/11/op-ed-different-spanks-for-different-ranks/

  11. Looking for Answers

    @TS
    I apologize for my late reply. I read the article and it is very interesting! At least it is being brought out to the public now. After Eddie Gallagher’s trial too I think the curtain was slightly lifted on some of the truly unjust things the military “justice” system (oxymoron!) does.
    Chief Gallagher’s brother commented how they were following Eddie around and spying on him, even trying to take a petty argument he had with his wife at a movie theater and claim it was spousal abuse. It is so ridiculously tilted in the favor of the prosecution and the investigators so they can get medals and so on. I guess that dude that was adding the tracking to the emails got reassigned… to a better and higher placed authority than he was before! So yeah, there is definitely different spanks when an airman high on Ambien can be bamboozled and have the rest of his life ruined by an OSI agent who just likes to mess with people, and yet this dude who absolutely knew he was convoluting justice gets basically a promotion in title. It’s so obviously messed up it hurts my head.
    It makes me so sad because I used to be so patriotic but I just don’t have any faith in the military anymore.

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