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Records: Army let police shooter avoid court-martial

Apr. 18, 2013 - 07:07AM   |  
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SANTA CRUZ, Calif. — Records show the Army commander of a former soldier who gunned down two California police detectives had allowed him to resign from the military instead of face a court-martial when he was twice accused of rape.

The findings are contained in Jeremy Goulet’s criminal records, obtained by The Associated Press on Wednesday. Goulet gunned down two Santa Cruz police detectives before being killed in a shootout on Feb. 26.

The records, obtained with a Freedom of Information Act request, show investigators from Wheeler Army Air Field, Hawaii — where Goulet was a helicopter pilot — found probable cause to prosecute him in 2006. However, his commander allowed him to resign “for the good of the service” under other-than-honorable conditions instead of facing a general court-martial.

Under military law, commanding officers have the discretion to decide how to handle rape charges. On Wednesday, Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., introduced legislation in Congress that would change that by creating a separate office to respond directly to rape and sexual assault charges.

Speier, along with former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and other members of Congress, demanded investigations into Goulet’s Army discharge in the days following the attack on the detectives.

“This makes the case once again why commanders shouldn’t be making the decision that a judge or jury should be making about whether or not there is probable cause for prosecution,” Speier said.

The 48 pages released by the Army Criminal Investigation Command detail some of its investigation, although the names of law enforcement personnel and the commander’s remarks were blanked out by the military as a condition of releasing them.

In the first rape charge, the victim told investigators that on the night of the attack in April 2006, she woke up on her couch with a man forcing himself on her. She said she couldn’t identify him because it was too dark but recognized his shirt. Goulet told investigators he had been at a party with the victim but denied the rape.

The investigator concluded that while there was probable cause to believe Goulet committed the offense, there was insufficient evidence to prosecute him. Goulet’s commander said his intent was to take disciplinary action against Goulet, but not go so far as a court-martial.

Fewer than six months after the first alleged attack, another woman reported Goulet raped her. In that case, investigators said there was probable cause that Goulet raped the woman. Goulet refused to answer questions, and the investigation was dropped after DNA taken from a swab of his mouth did not match evidence from the scene.

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