"I DID IT." - NAVY CHAPLAIN PLEADS GUILTY
TO ADULTERY AND FRATERNIZATION - LT SHANE
DILLMAN FACES LIFE IMPRISONMENT FOR RAPE
COURT-MARTIAL UNDERWAY AT NORFOLK
TOP DEFENSE ATTORNEY CHARLES GITTINS TO
"ZERO IN" ON ACCUSER'S "CREDIBILITY"
It was the only sensible strategy. Navy Chaplain (Lt.) Shane Dillman knew the NCIS (Naval Criminal Investigative Service) had him on adultery and fraternization charges, so with the good advice of his attorney, courtroom "pit-bull" Charles Gittins, the 36 year-old officer pled "guilty."
But the "rape" charge hanging over Dillman's head is the one that could send the former Pentecostal preacher to prison. If anyone can save him, it's Gittins, a tough-talking, "take-no-prisoners" defense lawyer, who cuts through accuser's lies like a "buzz-saw."
The former chaplain on the aircraft carrier USS Vinson is counting on Gittins to keep him from getting a one-way ticket to the Leavenworth Disciplinary Barracks in Kansas.
TROUBLE BEGAN AT A BIBLE STUDY
Dillman's troubles began back in Kuwait in 2005 where the well-liked chaplain led a Bible study at Camp Arifjan. There, he met a female enlisted hospital corpsman and started up an intimate relationship that lasted two years.
That wasn't the only female he fooled around with, Dillman now admits. He pled guilty May 26 to having a second sexual affair with another female sailor aboard the Vinson.
It's the charges from a third accuser that carry a life imprisonment charge.
That sailor says Dillman "forced" her to have sex with him at a Newport News, Va. hotel in January of 2007. Court papers show she claims the chaplain instructed her to wait for him at a room there.
WITNESSES SAY DILLMAN HOME WITH WIFE AND
HOUSEGUESTS ALL WEEKEND OF ALLEGED "ATTACK"
The best thing going for Dillman, outside of very aggressive representation by Gittins, is a pretty solid alibi as to his whereabouts at the time of the alleged "attack." Witnesses testified at Dillman's Article 32 preliminary hearing that the Naval officer was home all weekend with his wife, children and houseguests.
One of those houseguests is a fellow chaplain. Prosecutors contend that a number of phone calls placed to his cell phone by Dillman at that time, could mean the "lover-boy lieutenant" had slipped away from the house for a rendezvous with the female sailor.
The case will be decided by a trial judge alone, no jury. Navy Capt. Moira Modselewski will have the final say whether Dillman is guilty of the alleged rape "beyond a reasonable doubt."