Air Force publishes sexual assault convictions

A judge’s gavel rests Aug. 21, 2013, in the legal office at Buckley Air Force Base, Colo. The gavel’s banging symbolizes the start of proceedings, a needed recess or to bring order to the court. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Nicholas Rau/Released)

A judge’s gavel rests Aug. 21, 2013, in the legal office at Buckley Air Force Base, Colo. The Air Force has begun publishing sexual assault convictions in order to serve as a deterrence and increase awareness of the consequences of committing such crimes. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Nicholas Rau/Released)

INCIRLIK AIR BASE, Turkey -- In order to raise awareness of and hopefully prevent sexual assault, the Air Force now publishes sexual assault convictions on-line.

Anyone can go to the Air Force Judge Advocate Website and review more than 100 sexual assault convictions from across the Air Force, to include viewing them by base.

After a few minutes of reviewing the facts of these cases, you will soon see many cases are very similar - they involve: 1) the use of alcohol, 2) the absence of personal respect for the victim and 3) the absence of the victims' consent. You will also quickly see that Airmen who are convicted of sexual assault can be held accountable by military judges and court-martial panels with punishments that often include jail time, rank reductions and punitive discharges.

A number of these cases involve Airmen assaulting fellow Airmen, and many times these victims were co-workers and former friends - people who trusted their assailant. The offenders elected to violate that trust and were punished accordingly.

Airmen convicted of sexual assault must also register in their jurisdiction's sexual assault registry as required by many state laws. These sex offender lists include the names and addresses of convicted sex offenders, and are publicly available on-line.

Airmen who commit a sexual assault will have administrative discharge proceedings initiated against them and may be retained only if they meet a cumulative multi-part test.

For Airmen at Incirlik Air Base, only the 3d Air Force Commander can waive this requirement and only after concluding that the Airman meets the same multi-part retention test.

I encourage all Airmen to visit here and review the facts of the cases which resulted in these Airmen being convicted of sexual offenses. After you do that, I want you to do three things:

1. Share. Take what you learn and educate and warn fellow Airmen about the consequences of committing these crimes.

2. Intervene. When you see a situation that isn't right, do something about it! You're not only your nation's sword, shield, sentry and avenger; you owe that same level of devotion and determination to your fellow Airman or anyone in need. You will regret being a passive bystander when a few words of intervention can forever positively change the lives of others around you.

3. Treat each other with respect, and demand that standard from everyone else.

I believe people join the Air Force because they want to be on a winning team. When one of our Airmen is assaulted or assaults someone else, that's a loss for the team.

The problem of sexual assault is not going to be fixed with additional slogans or flashy ad campaigns. It's going to be solved by creating a culture of respect, by treating others as we want to be treated, and by refusing to tolerate behavior that doesn't conform to our standard. I'm confident that with your help, Incirlik can lead the way in preventing sexual assault!