VETERANS: Betrayed military spouses

Friday, May 9, 2014

AND FINALLY

Betrayed military spouses often keep quiet for fear of losing Benefits – source Los Angeles Times

Within the tight circle of Army spouses, Kris Johnson and Rebecca Sinclair became close friends as their ambitious husbands advanced rapidly in the officer corps. Both women were ultimately betrayed by their philandering spouses. Both endured public humiliation as their high-ranking husbands were hauled before courts-martial amid salacious testimony about adultery and other sex-related military crimes. And both women, along with their children, risked losing a lifetime of military benefits if their husbands were dismissed from the Army.

“You’re advised to keep your mouth shut and let him retire because you could lose everything,” said Johnson, whose now ex-husband, an Army colonel, pleaded guilty in 2012 to adultery, bigamy and other charges. Rebecca Sinclair begged a military judge not to strip her and her two young sons of military benefits after her husband, Brig. Gen. Jeffrey A. Sinclair, pleaded guilty to a long-running, coercive affair with a junior officer. The general was allowed to retire at a reduced rank, preserving up to $830,000 in benefits he and his family had earned for his 27 years of service.

Fear of losing benefits keeps many military wives from exposing sexual misconduct or other offenses committed by their husbands, say many of those familiar with the military criminal justice system. Johnson kept quiet about her husband, Col. James H. Johnson III, while he carried on an affair with an Iraqi woman while deployed to that country.

But when Col. Johnson moved his mistress into his military quarters in Italy, his wife turned him in – painfully aware that she and her two children might be cut off from benefits as a result. A military jury in 2012 allowed the colonel to retire at reduced rank, keeping the benefits intact. In both the Johnson and Sinclair cases, court concerns that dismissing the officers would also punish their families

helps explain the relatively light sentences. Kris Johnson and others have campaigned for changes that would provide benefits to spouses of service members kicked out of the military for crimes even if the offender is sentenced harshly. Congress responded in January with a provision that requires the Pentagon to study the feasibility of providing “transitional benefits” to families in these cases. The study, to be completed in May, will consider such questions as how long benefits might last and who would be eligible for them.

The changes would strengthen the military justice system, advocates contend. They would encourage spouses to report criminal behavior and clear the way for military judges or jury panels to impose heavier sentences. At the same time, they say, the proposed protections would support spouses who are otherwise cut loose after sacrificing for years to support a philandering spouse’s career.

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This is non-sense. 

And these men are security risks.

If an enlisted person did this, any one care to guess what would happen?

This is “unacceptable”!

Argh!

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