ON THE WRIST" IN KOREA
Why are we not surprised? Just as predicted in an earlier article [see "Related Stories, below"] bad boy Air Force Lt. Jason Davis, the disgrace of the Citadel, got off easy when a military judge gave him just two years in jail and dismissal from the service. The corrupt leader of the Osan town patrol could have gone to the slammer for a very long time.
Davis, who had initially been charged with rape, assault, bribery, extortion, larceny and a host of other violations that could have sent the crooked officer to Leavenworth for many a year, got a big break when rape and assault charges were tossed out before he made a guilty plea to lesser offenses. Seems a female witness against the lieutenant left town rather suddenly.
Even with the crimes he did admit to in a plea bargain, Davis could have gotten 21 years and three months in prison. But, in a move that even made veteran USFK observers blanch, the bribe-taking ex-cop only got two! And with seven months already served in the Camp Humphreys jail, Davis will be a free man in no time.
MORE A CHARADE THAN A COURT-MARTIAL
The judge who gave him such a "sweetheart deal" was Lt. Col. Eric Dillow from Yokota AFB in Japan. The out-of-town prosecutor, Maj. Jeffrey Ferguson, is chief trial counsel for the Pacific Circuit at - you guessed it - Yokota. Well, that's convenient.
How could Davis have shaken down bar owners - threatening them with being placed "off-limits" if they didn't come up with cash and bar girls for free sex - for six months while the Command stayed blissfully ignorant of the criminal goings-on? Some military and retired Air Force personnel we know in the area speculate "palms were greased" right up the line. A very good reason to let Lt. Davis operate with impunity.
But when a Korean woman accused Davis of rape and the local authorities in Osan found illegal guns in the lieutenant's off-base apartment, well, that changed things. The risk of more bad publicity, like how prostitution and "human-trafficking" of bar girls continues unabated in Osan, despite official denials, could have put the top brass in a real bind.
CUTTING A DEAL BEHIND CLOSED DOORS
Perhaps an agreement was hammered out with Davis whereby he promised to keep his mouth shut about what he knows, plead guilty to lesser infractions and, in exchange, practically waltz out the door. The fact he got less than one-tenth the jail time he could have received indicates there certainly was a "deal" cut behind the scenes. And part of that arrangement was for Davis to keep quiet about all he knew.
An interesting sidelight to this apparent injustice is Davis has filed a RILO, or request to "resign (his commission) in lieu of" being kicked out. Strangely enough, months after the paperwork went in, the acting Secretary of the Air Force has yet to make a decision. Theoretically, he could grant the RILO after media attention to the case dies down and then Davis would be out on the street even sooner.
Which makes Air Force personnel who remember the terrible injustice in the SSG Jerry Tilton case very upset. Tilton is the Maine native and NCO who was railroaded into Leavenworth for 18 years - he had a clean record prior to his court-martial - when his wacko wife allegedly got their two little sons to tell investigators that "daddy" had "molested" them.
Never mind that the kids later admitted their mother put words in their mouth. One little boy, the youngest son, refused to accuse his father of anything during the court-martial and was taken into a back room and "worked on" by the prosecution and agitated mama until he emerged half an hour later in a robot-like state to mouth the words he'd been programmed to say.
Lt. Davis, also Air Force, can commit adultery, force sex on bar girls, threaten their bosses to get cash kickbacks, hide illegal guns in his unauthorized off-base apartment, rape a Korean woman, assault her and threaten bodily harm on various victims, appear drunk and disorderly after the curfew he was entrusted to enforce and corrupt fellow members of the Osan "town patrol," and after all this, gets practically no jail time.
As one disgusted observer at Osan told MilitaryCorruption.com: "Davis got money . . . got gifts . . . got girls . . . got free sex . . . oh yeah, and he got off!"
Tilton, meanwhile, an innocent man, languishes in Leavenworth for nearly 20 years. The Air Force brand of "justice" is anything but. And the irony is, Davis won't be going to "the DB" after all. Prisoners with sentences under three years do their time elsewhere. So the "welcoming party" at Leavenworth won't get the chance to "initiate" Davis into the prison population after all.
DAVIS HAS "GREAT POTENTIAL" DEFENSE LAWYER SAYS
Some of the dialogue in the two-day court-martial did not reflect very well on the Air Force defense or prosecution.
Defense lawyer Capt. Chad Cowan, in his pre-sentencing argument, incredibly described his client as a "great person" who has "great potential." To do what? Commit more crimes if allowed to get away with it?
Maj. Fergusson made sure the line of questioning never touched on why the chain-of-command and the impotent Armed Forces Disciplinary Control Board (AFDCB) didn't know and act sooner on what was public knowledge at Osan - that Lt. Davis was shaking down bars and totally out-of-control.
Only once did an interesting tidbit emerge from the mostly-scripted proceedings. That was when Korean woman Lee Hye-chin, manager of "the Zone", revealed she had a romantic relationship with a former head of the Air Force OSI (Office of Special Investigations) at Osan. She called him "Tony." Does anyone know who that could be? Isn't the OSI supposed to catch criminals, not break the law themselves?
When is the Pentagon going to take a long, hard look at the climate of crime in the USFK and do something about it - like fire or relieve some of the top brass who prefer to "look the other way?"
Davis isn't the first officer to disgrace the Air Force at Osan.
Lt. Col Anthony Williams of the 51st Maintenance Group was convicted of having an "improper relationship" last year with a subordinate female enlisted woman and misuse of government e-mail. He originally was charged with being involved with a second enlisted female, violating an order to refrain from contact with her, and pressuring the staff sergeant to lie about their relationship.
Williams got only a reprimand and seven months in jail. Had the jury opted for the maximum penalty, the colonel could have faced forfeiture of all pay and allowances, a fine, two years behind bars and dismissal from the Air Force.
In our opinion, along with Davis, his commander, Lt. Col. Randall Richert of the 51st Security Forces Squadron and the challenged Col. Maria Dowling of the "paper-tiger" AFDCB should have been put under oath on the witness stand. Then they could have squirmed in their seat when asked why didn't they know what was going on for such a long time.
Of course, the "top-rankers" are usually insulated from such indignities, and this was no exception.
Perhaps the Pentagon should think twice before rewarding outgoing USFK commander, Gen. Leon LaPorte with a new assignment. We hear a "relative-related scandal" may break soon and that could result in even more embarrassing headlines.
"So far they've been able to confine the damage to Davis," says a deep-cover source on base. "But if the truth be known about his chain-of-command, the whole house of cards could come tumbling down."