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P. Simmons
P. Simmons, Military Lawyer
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Experience:  Retired Marine Corps lawyer and Veterans Services Officer (VSO) with 12+ yrs. of experience.
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Military Abuse Questions

Military abuse can be a result of a commanding officer abusing his/her authority or a fellow soldier who is being a bully. Regardless of the situation, you need to know your rights and what steps to take to end the abuse. If you need legal insight to military abuse, the Military Experts can answer any questions you may have regarding military abuse and the laws against abuse. Below are five of the top military abuse questions answered by the Experts.

How can a person speed up the prosecution of a soldier for child abuse?

A soldier's commander holds the ability to prosecute the soldier for any criminal activity. Under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) the commander is the only one who has this authority. If you think the process is taking too long, it may be due to an investigation. The only way to speed the prosecution up, you could speak with the soldier's commanding officer and express your concern with the situation. If you don't make any headway speaking to the commanding officer, you can contact your congressional representative and discuss the matter with him/her. However, the decision to prosecute is up to the soldier's commander.

Where does a soldier go for help when they have been wrongfully abused in the military?

You have two options if you feel like you have been wrongfully abused. Your first option will be to ask for an audience with your commanding officer and the second option is Art. 138, UCMJ.

If you are having issues with your command, you should take your concerns to your battalion commander. The battalion commander is in a position to repair most issues that arise in the platoon. However, if your commander is involved in the situation, you can turn to Art. 138. Which is quoted here per UCMJ:

Article 138 is one of the most powerful rights under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), but it is one of the rights least known and least used by military personnel. Under Article 138 of the UCMJ,"any member of the armed forces who believes himself (or herself) wronged by his (or her) commanding officer" may request redress. If such redress is refused, a complaint may be made and a superior officer must "examine into the complaint."

Article 138 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) gives every member of the Armed Forces the right to complain that he or she was wronged by his or her commanding officer. The right even extends to those subject to the UCMJ on inactive duty for training.

Matters appropriate to address under Article 138 include discretionary acts or omissions by a commander that adversely affect the member personally and are:
  • In violation of law or regulation
  • Beyond the legitimate authority of that commander
  • Arbitrary, capricious, or an abuse of discretion, or
  • Clearly unfair (e.g., selective application of standards).

How would a person file a Congressional Complaint on a military unit for physiological abuse of power?

You can contact your congressional representative by mail or phone. You will need to contact your congressman which resides over your district. You should also make contact with both of your senators. You need to inform all parties of the abuse that you are experiencing and give the appropriate details. More than likely, you will speak with a staff member if you call but your information will be handed over to your Congressman or the Senator who will follow up on your information by contacting the military.

Should a person get a restraining order on someone who is verbally abusive?

A restraining order will protect you from having to deal with verbal abuse, as long as you are not a participant in the abusive actions. You may want to consider the stipulations of the restraining order and if the situation really requires the order. Once the order has been placed, you will have a hard time removing it if you later decide that it is unnecessary.

What can a sailor do if their supervisor hurt their career due to sub standard evaluations?

If your supervisor has not given you a fair evaluation, you can take the issue to the Board of Corrections for Naval Records (BCNR) and appeal your record. You are allowed 3 years to appeal your record. The BCNR can determine if your record should be changed and if they think you should be promoted, they have the power to give you the promotion. When preparing your request, you may ask the attorneys at the Naval Legal Service Officer (NLSO) to assist you.

No one should have to deal with abuse, especially in the military. The stress of being in the military is hard enough without the added pressure of abuse from other service members or superiors. If you are in an abusive situation and need answers, you can ask the Military Experts. The experts will offer a solution to you individual situation in an effective and efficient manner.

Ask a Military Lawyer

P. Simmons
P. Simmons, Military Lawyer
Category: General
Satisfied Customers: 11866
Experience:  Retired Marine Corps lawyer and Veterans Services Officer (VSO) with 12+ yrs. of experience.
11181181
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Recent Abuse Questions

  • I have been in the Army for 5 years.I have never had not even

    I have been in the Army for 5 years.I have never had not even a negative counseling against me. I am a SGT and I got a field grade article 15. My punishment is 45/45 and reduction of rank to SPC. They told me it is protocol to start to initiate chapter paperwork. Is it possible for them to chapter me out for this offense? Also how soon after my punishment can they lift my flag so i can go back to the board to get my SGT rank back? Anticipating your response. Thank you.
  • Hi my friend is in the navy. He's been in for 4 and a half

    Hi my friend is in the navy. He's been in for 4 and a half years, just re enlisted last year so three more to go. He voluntarily admitted himself to the navy rehab center a couple years ago, due to many issues(suicidal thoughts, anxiety, depression excessive alcohol use : not caused by military) During this time, because he was seeking help, many things came up from his past (before he joined navy) that just slipped out, such as drug use and a diagnosis of generalized anxiety disorder with prescribed meds by doctor. These things are now in his navy medical record. He did not tell the navy about his anxiety or meds prescribed. He did receive a waiver for disclosing his marijuana use but during time at rehab he told them he used marijuana more often than what was said before and he used Xanax (prescribed). Although medical officers have seen his record, his commands never have. The command was notified of the suicidal thoughts, depression and alcohol use, and that was all dealt with at the time. The commands have never looked in depth to see the obvious fraud enlistment. He is unsure if he was cleared or waived while confessing these things to the medical officers while in the psych ward just before he went to rehab. Recently his symptoms of depression and anxiety have returned (although not suicidal and not drinking). He loves the navy but is unsure how to deal with this. He's never been in trouble. He wants to know (since this depression is a reoccurring issue obviously) what discharge to expect should they choose to kick him out. Thank you sir.
  • Sir/Mam: Does it violate the UCMJ for a military leader in

    Sir/Mam:
    Does it violate the UCMJ for a military leader in Iraq (2003 - 2006) to organize a group of young military men and women to write a novel (Springtime in Babylon) that was published under the author's name, D.G. Burns?
    The book is full of “The glorification of sexual and physical violence and abuse of women…” The activities described in explicit detail throughout the book “… include violent sexual acts, rape, orgies, incest and murder.”
    In the newspaper article (Salem, OR, Statesman Journal, 10-11-0014) ***** ***** is quoted explaining why the military supported these Guardsmen joining together to write this book in the middle of a Muslim country during a war. “These were young men and women stationed in Iraq in the middle of a war zone, putting their lives on the line for their country,” Evans said. ”We needed a way to keep their minds occupied between attacks, and several of them wanted to try writing a book.”
    I’m posting a web page where you can read some of the writings these young people wrote under the leadership of their US military leader.
    https://www.scribd.com/doc/242559449/Paul-Evans-book-excerpts
    A couple of retired military friends and I think besides this being a creepy book, it could be possible the activity violated UCMJ.
    Thank you for considering my question.
    Marylin Shannon
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