FORCE ACADEMY GRAD DODGES BULLET
Chances of surviving a rape charge, much less multiple counts at court-martial, are either slim or none. The dirty secret of the so-called military "justice" system is that nearly 98% of all service members get "convicted" whether they are guilty or not. That's just two per cent less than the result in a totalitarian regime. If American civilians were "found guilty" at that pace, we'd need to build prisons on every street corner to house the inmate population.
Capt. David T. "Tom" Still dodged the bullet all right. The Air Force Academy graduate incredibly was acquitted on the rape and attempted rape charges. He ended up with only a reprimand and $4,000 fine on a separate charge. That's a far cry from the dishonorable discharge and jail time the prosecution sought to hang around his neck.
The officer openly wept as his mother hugged him in the Kunsan AFB courtroom. Retired Air Force Col. Frank Spinner certainly is a first-rate defense attorney, but Still has to be incredibly lucky not to have ended up in Leavenworth. Just being accused of rape is usually all it takes to destroy a man's life and military career. And not all accusations are true.
FEMALE ACCUSER OFFERED CONFUSED, CONFLICTING TESTIMONY
We may never know for sure what the real facts are in this case, because the female captain who testified against Still had several different versions of her story. She couldn't even remember for sure if she said "no" or when that was. Having a fuzzy memory (no drugs were involved) made her a less than convincing witness.
Still is no saint. Court documents show the captain pleaded guilty to a charge he'd ducked out of a New Year's Party in 2006 and had sex "multiple times" with a willing enlisted female at the Dragon Hill Lodge on Yongsan Garrison in Seoul.
That Still was an active member of the "Officer's Christian Fellowship" at the time may make him a hypocrite, but his drinking - Still now claims to have been sober for nearly a year - is the reason he messed up, he claimed.
"I'm a different person when I've been drinking," the captain explained. "That person is someone who is the opposite of everything I believe in."
Still's not completely out of the woods yet. The sentence now is passed on to the Kunsan base commander who is the convening authority. He will decide whether the fighter jock ever gets to go up in the air again. Lt. Col. Eric Dillow was the military judge in the case.
If you ask anyone today who the luckiest man in the Air Force is, it would have to be Capt."Tom" Still. He beat the odds and dodged a bullet that almost always finds it's mark.