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P. Simmons
P. Simmons, Military Lawyer
Category: Military Law
Satisfied Customers: 25423
Experience:  Retired Marine Corps lawyer and Veterans Services Officer (VSO) with 12+ yrs. of experience.
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There was an inappropriate relationship with proof, we had

Resolved Question:

There was an inappropriate relationship with proof, we had also been counseled to have no contact. Can I (Officer) get in trouble for fraternization (happened while both are on active duty) after the enlisted woman gets out of the military? If the command finds out after she separates from service can I still be charged or would it no longer be an offense?
Submitted: 7 months ago.
Category: Military Law
Expert:  P. Simmons replied 7 months ago.
Thanks for the chance to help. I am an attorney with over 12 years military law experience.

It would NOT be an offense for you to have a relationship with a former soldier after she leaves the service.

HOWEVER, if there is evidence that you had a personal relationship PRIOR to her discharge? That is a crime and that could be prosecuted. THe statute of limitations for court martial is 5 years and for Art 15 it is 2 years.

So, for example, if she leaves the military, and you rekindle the relationship, they could prosecute you for your prior criminal misconduct (fraternization) if the statute of limitations has not yet expired.

You are correct, now that she is out, she can no longer be punished. But since you are still in? You can be punished.

Customer: replied 7 months ago.

If she is receiving disability benefits could any action be taken against her benefits or is she completely safe once she is separated from service? Yes there is clear evidence that the relationship existed while we were both active duty. Does that 5 yrs apply to the start of when she separates from service?

Expert:  P. Simmons replied 7 months ago.
The 5 year rule applies from the misconduct. So whenever the last episode of misconduct was? 5 years from that date the statute of limitations for court martial expires.

As for her, if she is out, they can not recall her to prosecute her. So she is safe...but you may not be for many years.


Customer: replied 7 months ago.

And by misconduct you mean any contact or conversation with her since Officer/Enlisted personal relationship is prohibited? If she emails me or contacts me about the personal relationship as long as she is in would be the date of the last misconduct? Im just trying to gather when the 5 yrs would start for her to hold this over my head since she is still contacting me on a regular basis about the relationship.

Expert:  P. Simmons replied 7 months ago.
The 5 year statute of limitations starts from the last incident of misconduct. So, for example, if you had inappropriate contact 3 days prior to her leaving the service, then years from that date the statute would have expired.

Contact after she leaves the service is not illegal, so it would not impact the statute of limitations

Customer: replied 7 months ago.

She is not planning on separating from service until next summer. Would inappropriate contact be her messing me and calling me and us even being friends?

Expert:  P. Simmons replied 7 months ago.
Yes. You being friends while she is on duty can impact both of you.

If you refuse to contact her and report her attempts to your chain of command? That would not be a crime.

So I see you are in a tough spot here...she is still in...and still attempting to contact you. I would notify your commander about her attempts and I would sure not continue to communicate with her. IF you do, you may find yourself in a criminal court martial

P. Simmons, Military Lawyer
Category: Military Law
Satisfied Customers: 25423
Experience: Retired Marine Corps lawyer and Veterans Services Officer (VSO) with 12+ yrs. of experience.
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