By Bob McCarty, staff writer
A U.S. Army Special Forces Green Beret, Sgt. 1st Class Kelly A. Stewart admitted to having a one-night stand with a 28-year-old German woman the night of August 22, 2008.
She did, too. Both knew sex was part of the plan when they left the discotheque near Stuttgart. A few months later, however, her story changed and the highly-decorated combat veteran found himself facing rape and kidnapping charges.
During court-martial proceedings that took place during three days in August 2009, the Green Beret faced an all-male Army court-martial panel comprised of both officers and enlisted soldiers who had recently returned from a 16-month deployment with the Army attorney serving as the lead prosecutor.
It took only two days for the panel to find the Green Beret guilty of numerous offenses — including aggravated sexual assault, kidnapping, forcible sodomy and assault and battery — and another day for them to sentence him to eight years behind bars.
Incredibly, the conviction was based almost entirely on the testimony of the accuser, a one-time mental patient who, with the backing of the German government, refused to allow her medical records to be entered as evidence. No physical evidence was presented, and no eyewitnesses could be found.
Several witnesses came forward after the trial and, during a post-trial hearing in May 2010. Those witnesses testified that the accuser had lied several times during the trial. Unfortunately for the Green Beret, their words were largely ignored by the court – but not by the one-star general with the authority to change the Green Beret’s life.
In August 2010, the general took five years off of his sentence and made him eligible for parole immediately. Nine months later, he was released on parole.
Today, more than seven months after his early release from the U.S. Military Disciplinary Barracks at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., the Green Beret is still fighting for a new trial so he can shed the “sexual offender” label that will stay with him the rest of his life IF justice remains out of reach.
Based on extensive interviews and never-before-published details taken from the actual record of trial, Three Days In August: A U.S. Army Special Forces Soldier’s Fight for Military Justice paints a portrait of military justice gone awry that’s certain to make your blood boil. More about this case will be presented on this page in coming weeks. This outrageous miscarriage of justice must be corrected.
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