11 May

A former Fort Bragg soldier was discharged after confessing to having had sex with four underage women. The former Army soldier was 20 and 21 at the time of the sexual encounters; the girls involved were 14 and 15. The nature of the soldier’s discharge is unknown; an other-than-honorable discharge was recommended, however his wife reported that he received a general discharge.

The sex offenses took place in Fayetteville. The Army has turned over the information from its investigation to local law enforcement to determine whether criminal charges will be pursued. Statutory rape is a crime in North Carolina. A person who has sex with a minor between the ages of 13 and 15 may be guilty of a felony if he or she is four years older than the minor. If the age gap is six years or more, the penalty increases.

The Heavy Equipment Operator had previously separated from the military in 2006. Officials at Fort Bragg cited him for a pattern of misconduct, but he was allowed to reenlist in 2008. The Army began its investigation after the soldier’s wife reported that she suspected he was viewing child pornography. During the course of the Army investigation, the former soldier admitted to viewing 900 images of child pornography on his home computer along with having sex with the underage girls.

According to Lt. Col. Benjamin L. Garrett, once a soldier confesses to misconduct, the confession alone can be enough to warrant a discharge from the military even if criminal charges are not brought. The standard of proof for discharge is much lower than that for a criminal trial. Garrett is the spokesperson for Fort Stewart, the last post for the former Army soldier who confessed to the sex offenses.

Source: FayObserver, “Charges not filed in underage sex case involving former Fort Bragg soldier,” Greg Barnes, May 11, 2012