In 2016, a male West Point cadet was accused of raping a female cadet in her sleeping bag while the two – and others – were participating in summer field training.
The male cadet, who will not be identified by The Daily Wire, was convicted in a West Point star chamber of three counts of sexual assault and sentenced to 21 years in prison. Last week, while his attorneys argued for a reduced sentence, a military appeals court completely reversed the ruling against him, released him from prison, and returned him to the academy.
The reason was that the alleged rape was so improbable, and the evidence so thin, that a conviction should not have occurred.
The woman claimed the male cadet raped her while she was in her sleeping bag. Others were around, but she said she froze in fear (a widely used claim by those making sexual assault accusations these days) when she awoke to find the male cadet assaulting her. He allegedly assaulted her despite how easily it would have been to be caught by nearby squad members. That’s what the judges found so difficult to comprehend.
“It is hard to conclude beyond a reasonable doubt that appellant could complete the charged offenses without cooperation or detection,” the panel of three judges wrote, according to The Associated Press. “It is even harder to conclude beyond a reasonable doubt that appellant would anticipate that (the woman) would not make any reflexive noise or movements upon being awakened, which would have alerted multiple others to his criminal activity.”
The male cadet had said the encounter was consensual and that both he and the female cadet took steps to conceal their affair by remaining quiet.
The appeal panel further wrote that a rape was implausible because of how easily the woman have been able to identify the male cadet.
“Furthermore,” the judges wrote, “appellant left his semen on (the woman’s) bivy cover, and there is no evidence that he tried to remove this evidence.”
Cadets are barred from having sex during field training.
Attorney Scott Greenfield wrote that each side presented competing narratives at trial, and that “Given the conflicting testimony, it would be fair to assume that the cadet was acquitted, as even under the civil preponderance of the evidence standard, there was nothing to suggest one side outweighed the other.”
But we are in a world where an accusation holds more weight than evidence (or lack thereof) or common sense, so the man was convicted.
The male cadet served 25 months of his sentence before the appellate court reversed an earlier court’s decision.
Naturally, activists like Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), who’s never seen an accusation she didn’t believe, called the appeals court’s decision loss for “survivors.”
“I am extremely concerned that the panel’s reasoning reflects an outdated understanding about the nature of sexual assault and may deter reporting by survivors,” she said.
Gillibrand’s claims reflect an absurd reading of reality, insisting that any action an accuser takes (whether its lying or conveniently “freezing” or sending thankful text messages after the encounter) is evidence of sexual assault merely because the accusation exists.