Lt. Col. James Wilkerson speaks as the then 20th Fighter Wing chief of safety at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., Aug. 11, 2008. Henry Hoegen/U.S. Air Force
Air Force Pilot's Sex Assault Dismissal Sparks Cries For Reform -- Stars and Stripes
An Air Force general’s decision to overturn a jury’s guilty verdict and reinstate a fighter pilot convicted of sexual assault could prove to be a lightning rod in efforts to legislatively strip commanders of their long-held authority in sexual assault cases, victims’ advocates say.
Third Air Force commander Lt. Gen. Craig Franklin’s decision to reinstate Lt. Col. James Wilkerson was a stunning example of structural problems in an outdated military justice system rife with bias that discounts victims while emboldening offenders, advocates said.
“It’s really shocking,” Susan Burke, a lawyer who represents numerous military women in lawsuits against the Defense Department, said of the case.
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My Comment: An all male jury convicted him .... but the commander overruled it anyway. If the jury was split .... I understand .... but this .... this I do not understand. Expect a lot of blow-back and calls for reform from this decision.