MILITARY POLICEMAN AT YONGSAN
There's very little sympathy, as a rule, for military policemen when they get nabbed in wrongdoing. Most observers chuckle to themselves that it's good to see an MP caught up "in a jam" now and then. "Serves them right," the GI says.
For onetime-SFC James Thompson, just six months from qualifying for an active-duty retirement, it was a close call indeed. He'd been accused of having an affair with a young female MP in his platoon in Korea and could have received a bust to buck private and a BCD.
Of course, the female soldier, who is married and knew full well she was engaged in an "adulterous" sexual liason - the hanky-panky allegedly took place at Camp Long and later at Camp Humphreys, Korea in March - got off "scot-free." No punishment as of press time and none expected. Once again the U.S. military's double-standard saves a female soldier from being held responsible for her actions.
FEMALE SOLDIER ALLEGED TO HAVE INSTIGATED AFFAIR
Thompson said the affair started after a series of amorous e-mails and phone calls. He testified at his court martial at Yongsan Garrison that PFC Lindsey Bishop came to his barracks room, ostensibly to talk about "scheduling." That's when the adultery first took place, investigators said.
At least the young soldier didn't claim Thompson "raped" her. The PFC from the 557th Military Police Company, 8th MP Brigade, however, didn't waste any time telling the authorities Thompson allegedly contacted her after being ordered not to do so. Bishop claimed the veteran NCO asked her to "withhold information" from the CID.
Luckily for the MP sergeant first class, those charges were dropped. But he still was found guilty of fraternization and adultery. And members of his platoon, who knew about the affair, weren't thrilled that Bishop might derive some special treatment or benefit from her "relationship" with her senior NCO.
REDUCED IN RANK, BUT PENSION SAVED
Successfully saving his pension and avoiding worse penalty, Thompson tearfully told the court he was "no longer fit" to serve in the Army. In a performance that rivaled a Hollywood production, the sobbing sergeant ruefully declared: "I am totally ashamed and humbled . . . I have fallen from my path." All that was missing was a chorus of violins in the background.
But it worked. Indeed it did. Thompson will get his retirement after all, albeit at a lower rank. And he avoided up to a year in prison and forfeiture of two-thirds pay for 12 months. The $2000 tab he got tagged for was a mere pittance compared to what Thompson could have been fined if he'd got the maximum penalty.
When is the Army and Pentagon going to realize that if "rape" or "coercion" is not involved, and if both parties to a sexual affair are married, that both of them ought to be punished for adultery, not just the male. Yes, we know he held the higher rank. But we feel PFC Bishop isn't exactly "Rebecca from Sunnybrook Farm." She knew what she wanted when she tried to seduce her boss. And she ought to be put out of the Army before she can do any more harm to anyone else.