It Keeps Getting Uglier

Just when you think it couldn’t possibly get worse

A lieutenant colonel who supervises sexual assault prosecution in the Army is under investigation for allegedly sexually assaulting a female colleague, sources have confirmed.

Lt. Col. Joseph “Jay” Morse has been suspended from his job as chief of the Trial Counsel Assistance Program at Fort Belvoir, Va., “pending the outcome of the investigation,” an Army spokesman confirmed via email on Thursday.

The source could not, however, elaborate on the allegations.

“Given that this is still an open case, we are precluded from providing additional information at this point,” the spokesman said.

What on earth is going on with our folks in uniform?


4 thoughts on “It Keeps Getting Uglier

  1. It seems unlikely to me that that the recent explosion in the number of accusations of assault is the result of an increase in the number of assaults. The subject of assault has received widespread, increasingly hysterical publicity for a while now. Publicity might encourage people to come forward with accusations, especially when publicity is combined with a strenuous campaign to encourage accusers to come forward. But surely, wider knowledge of the punishments inflicted on those who are convicted would tend to deter at least some potential assaulters and thus to reduce the number of assaults, not increase it. We also should not overlook the possibility that this knowledge, combined with a wider awareness that people whose charges do not stick will suffer no (or minimal) consequences has led to an increase in the number of false accusations. I have no idea whether the charges against Lt. Col. Morse are true or not, but of all people, he would seem the most likely to brood on the consequences and thus to be deterred from the crime.

    Among my own friends in the military, the perception, rightly or wrongly, is that the number of false accusations is large. This perception is bound to create a problem for discipline. Back in the days when dueling was popular and legal in the United States and Europe, it was everywhere a death penalty offense to challenge one’s senior officer. Discipline would have been impossible if a subordinate had possessed a means of striking down an officer whom he disliked or whose orders he resented. Likewise, an officer who feared attack by a subordinate would tend to hesitate in giving necessary but unpopular orders. My friends, especially the noncommissioned officers, describe exactly this sort of hesitation before reprimanding or disciplining female soldiers or assigning them onerous duties.

    • Unfortunately, it seems that a significant portion of our population equates press coverage with with solid and overwhelming evidence. That’s why the fallout from this will be more severe and more disturbing than it really should be.

  2. By the way, this is somewhat off-topic, but I saw quite a number of deep-thinking articles a few months ago about the claim by the Pentagon’s report that men were the majority of victims of sexual assaults in the military. No doubt that it does happen, but not one of the articles considered the possibility that if you give an anonymous survey on sex to a bunch of young men, you’re going to get a lot of jokesters pulling your leg.

    • A lot of it depends on perspective and one’s definition of sexual assault.

      For instance, I remember when a popular physical joke in the military among males was “good game,” where you’d catch an unsuspecting dude bending over to do something and whack him on the buttocks forcefully while saying “good game.” It shocked the target and was laughed-off. It was a play on the sports act of patting a fellow player on the ass in a gesture of sportsmanship.

      Reading the law, that act can be construed as a sexual assault (Wrongful Sexual Contact). Knowing that, are acts such as “good game” being used to determine the statistics? I think that could sway the stats significantly.

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