You can listen to U.S. Navy veteran Brian Lewis’ March 13, 2013 testimony to the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Personnel here.
“Nearly 30 years ago, when George H. W. Bush was president and Dick Cheney was the secretary of defense, the Pentagon made a promise to our service members. Dozens of Navy and Marine Corps aviation officers had just been investigated for the infamous Tailhook sexual assault scandal, and America’s military leadership affirmed a “zero tolerance” policy toward sexual assault within their ranks. The military had a sexual assault problem, and pledged to solve it.
It’s painfully clear that the military has now failed at this mission by almost any metric. For years, survivor after survivor has told us the change in the system we needed to make to end this scourge — the same change that a number of our allies around the world have already made: take the adjudication of these crimes outside of the chain of command and allow trained military prosecutors to prosecute them.” Read more opinion at Military Timeshere.
“The Military Justice Improvement Act would take the prosecution of sexual assault and other serious crimes, such as murder, out of the chain of command. It would keep those crimes in the military justice system, but put the decision to prosecute them into the hands of actual military prosecutors who are trained to deal with complex legal issues.” –Senator Kirsten Gillbrand (Military Times, July 1, 2019)
Gillibrand Leads Bipartisan Coalition to Reform Military Justice System -Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (May 16, 2013)
In the early morning hours of March 15, 2019, Marine Corps Lance Corporal Riley Schultz was found dead near a guard shack with a gunshot wound in his head. Nineteen-year-old Lance Corporal Schultz was on guard duty at Camp Pendleton in California when this tragic incident occurred. Riley was discovered by a Marine who was assigned to replace him at this entry control point. The Naval Criminal Investigative Services (NCIS) were assigned to investigate Riley’s suspicious death but their investigation appeared to conclude when the medical examiner ruled that Lance Corporal Riley Schultz died by suicide via a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Riley’s family isn’t going to simply accept the outcome of the investigation. His family knows him better than anyone and his brother said Riley was the happiest he had ever been. Riley’s mom told the press that becoming a Marine was his dream and he worked hard and prepared for his enlistment before joining the USMC at the age of 17. Riley’s mom said he loved being a Marine and things were going well in his personal life when he died. Although this investigation appears to be an open and closed case with the Marine Corps, Riley’s family disputes the cause of death and plans to continue to fight for justice for Riley.
In the News:
The Marine from Colorado found dead at a Southern California base earlier this month died by suicide, according to 1st Lt. Cameron Edinburgh, a Marine Corps spokesperson. Rob Low reports. -FOX31 Denver (March 27, 2019)
The Navy is investigating after a Marine from Colorado was shot to death while on guard duty at Southern California’s Camp Pendleton. -CBS Denver (March 27, 2019)
Lance Cpl. Riley Schultz was discovered dead around 4 a.m. March 15 with a gunshot wound to the head. -Denver7 – The Denver Channel (March 27, 2019)
Keith Morrison follows a cold case for nearly 10 years, as a father in Hawaii fights to bring his daughter’s killer to justice despite one setback after another. -Dateline NBC
On June 15, 2018, Dateline premiered ‘The Other Side of Paradise’ on NBC. It’s the true crime story of Sandra Galas and her father’s quest for cold case justice. Air Force retiree Larry Mendonca’s daughter Sandra was found strangled to death in her car in the garage of her home on January 25, 2006 in ‘Ele’ele, Hawaii. The case went unsolved for years and if not for the efforts of her father Larry, the case may never have been solved. For years, Sandra’s estranged husband Darren Galas was the prime suspect. Darren had a history of domestic violence and it was rumored that he was angry Sandra was dating someone new. It wasn’t until 2012, investigators were able to pin Darren to the crime with the use of new forensic techniques, specifically touch DNA from evidence at the scene of the crime was a match to Darren Galas. In January 2018, twelve years after the murder, Darren Galas entered a no contest plea in court for a charge of first degree assault, a class B felony. The judge accepted his plea and he was found guilty. In March 2018, Galas was sentenced to a ten year open prison term for his connection to the crime, the maximum that could be imposed. Unfortunately, due to parental alienation, Sandra’s father Larry has no relationship with her two children. He claims Darren has brainwashed them to hate both their mother and her family.
Editor’s Note: You can watch the full episode of Dateline for a limited time on the NBC app. Download the app and binge on the last couple years of programming.
Darren Galas, 40 of Kalaheo was arrested for the 2006 murder of his estranged wife, Sandra Galas. -KHON2 News (2012)
A 2006 Kauai case has new witnesses and interviews. -KITV (2012)
The body of Sandra Galas was found in her garage in Eleele on Jan. 25, 2006. -KHON2 News (2018)
Kauai man Darren Galas has been sentenced in connection with his wife’s 2006 murder. -KHON2 News (2018)
If you or someone you know has been falsely accused of a crime,
please contact Save Our Heroes.
This animated video describes the obstacles faced by military members who are wrongly or falsely accused of sexual assault. From the recent changes to the UCMJ to the barriers built around the alleged victim, wrongly and falsely accused service members face an uphill battle defending themselves. Court-martial defense lawyer Will M. Helixon, with decades of experience as a sex crimes prosecutor, can team with the military detailed counsel to level the playing field and defend the rights of the wrongly and falsely accused. (www.helixongroup.com)
If someone reports a crime to a police department, even if the person is not prosecuted, there is still a record of the complaint. This is not happening in the military because the Commander does not have access to law enforcement databases. So if the person was accused before in the military, the Commander has no way of knowing. And they are not entering data into the system if they are informed of a complaint. We are losing valuable data if the person is not prosecuted for the crime. The military currently prosecutes less then 10% of complaints.
If information was processed like in the civilian world, we quite possibly could prevent a rape or sexual assault. It could help establish a pattern even if one of the cases didn’t have enough evidence to prosecute. If the military had multiple complaints against one person then they would have a better chance at prosecution.