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)
“Today, the Department of Defense released the Annual Report on Sexual Harassment and Violence at the Military Service Academies, Academic Program Year 2017-2018…There were 117 reports of sexual assault received across all three academies. This is an increase of five from the prior academic program year, indicating confidence in response measures, however, surveyed measures of unwanted sexual contact and sexual harassment increased compared to rates last measured in 2016. There was also an overall increase in sexual harassment.” Read more here. -Department of Defense (January 31, 2019)
When a serial rapist targets military spouses, NCIS agents race against time before he strikes again. -Ruthless, 48 Hours
It is believed that Willie Abner Brown committed 12 sexual assaults in the Jacksonville, North Carolina area, five of them were Marine spouses. After the similarities in reports were observed, the Jacksonville Police Department created a Task Force with Camp Lejeune and Naval Criminal Investigation Services (NCIS) because they felt the cases were connected. The Marine Corps leadership at Camp Lejeune were very concerned that there was a serial rapist on the loose because five different military spouses reported being attacked, four were attacked while their husband’s were deployed. The attacker also stole money and debit and credit cards from his victims. Investigators were able to identify Willie Brown via video surveillance while he was using one of the victim’s credit cards at a local convenience store. They learned Brown was a janitor at Camp Lejeune.
The police picked Brown up for a traffic violation and brought him to the station for fraudulent use of one of the victim’s credit cards. The Jacksonville Police Department knew exactly who Willie Brown was because of his long rap sheet. They could prove the theft but they wanted to prove the multiple rapes so they set up a war room to gather and collect information that would help them substantiate that Willie Brown was involved in the sexual assaults as well. They interviewed every victim they could to get a better understanding of the modus operandi of the serial attacker. Investigators also searched Brown’s house and his girlfriend’s house and found items that connected Willie to the victims and the weapon they believe was used in one of the attacks. The victim’s were relieved Willie was finally caught and couldn’t harm anyone else.
Willie Abner Brown
The prosecutor was only able to prove that Willie was connected to four of the twelve sexual assaults. DNA evidence specifically connected Willie Brown to some of the victims. During trial, Willie Brown took the stand to defend himself and he maintained his innocence. He admitted to the robbery but not the sexual assaults. And he told the jury he was sexually assaulted as a child and couldn’t physically carry out the attacks. After a day of deliberation, the jury found Willie Brown guilty on March 13, 2014 of multiple felony charges including rape. He was also convicted of assaulting one of the victims with a deadly weapon. Willie Brown was sentenced to prison for 410 years. “You have to fight for your story, you have to fight for your word.” One of the victims said even if they can’t do anything with your case, you should still report it because someday someone else will report and the cases will be connected.
Editor’s Note: If you would like to watch the full episode of ‘Ruthless,’ please visit the CBS All Access website, visit the 48 Hours website, or download the 48 Hours app on your iPad. The most recent episodes are unlocked on the 48 Hours website and app. If you would like to watch past episodes on the 48 Hours app, it cost’s $4.99 a year. There’s programming dating back to 2005 on the 48 Hours app, including some classics, to feed your true crime addiction.
Law protecting military victims of sexual assault discussed. -WDTN-TV (May 1, 2018)
“In civilian life you have complete control of your movements, and if you’re in an unsafe situation you can remove yourself. In military life, the victim needs permission to take even basic self-preservation actions.” (Rep. Mike Turner, December 25, 2011)
“It’s been almost ten years since that law for expedited transfers on base for sexual assault victims was changed. But today Congressman Turner and Mary Lauterbach both say there’s still more work to be done. Now backtracking to 2007 when Maria Lauterbach reported her sexual assault, the Vandalia Marine requested a base transfer and it was denied, leaving her in close proximity to her assaulter. Since her death, her mother has worked with Turner to get that law changed where victims can now seek that expedited transfer…Today, Turner’s saying even with that law passed those who report sexual assault in context of domestic violence have not been permitted expedited transfer, bringing forth the persist against Military Sexual Trauma Act. ‘We have drawn legislation that would close that loophole and make certain that those who are subject to domestic violence also have the ability, as victims of sexual assault, to seek the expedited transfer’ (Rep. Mike Turner). This will be included in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) which will pass the House of Representatives next week.” –WDTN-TV (May 1, 2018)
In the News:
Critics say the military needs to do more about domestic violence against women. A CBS News investigation found more than 25,000 women have been victimized over the past decade. -CBS Evening News (January 28, 2009)
Rep. Bruce Braley introduces the Holley Lynn James Act — a bill to help victims of sexual assault and domestic violence in the military get justice. The bill is named after Holley Lynn James, a constituent of Rep. Braley who was killed by her husband while both were in the service. -[Former] Representative Bruce Braley (April 12, 2011)
The man found dead in Germantown is ID’s as Adam Anthony Arndt; teen ID’d as Michelle Miller. -ABC 7 WJLA (April 8, 2013)
New provisions handed down from the Department of Defense are giving sexual assault victims in the military rights they never had before. It’s all thanks to the fight from Congressman Mike Turner and a local mother Mary Lauterbach. The provisions make certain that a victim has legal counsel throughout the whole process so they understand what their legal rights are and how to protect themselves. The provisions also remove the accused from the situation and not the victim. -WKEF/WRGT (August 15, 2013)
A major hurdle cleared for sexual assault victims in the military. Congress passed a bill that would give victims rights and protection they never had before. The push came after the tragic murder of local marine Maria Lauterbach and her unborn son. Congress approved a bill that would give military sexual assault victims legal counsel and criminalize retaliation against any victim. “If Maria had had this, she would be alive today, it’s very important.” The bill now heads to President Barack Obama for his signature. -WKEF/WRGT (December 20, 2013)
Morris’ death in 2012 was ruled a suicide. -WMAR-2 News (August 10, 2015)
First Class Private Shadow McClaine’s body was discovered earlier this week and investigators arrested two fellow soldiers. -CBS Sacramento (January 28, 2017)
The family learned Kamisha Block was shot and killed while serving in Iraq. The Department of Defense told the Block family Kamisha was shot in the chest by friendly fire. It would take the family a grueling six months to learn the truth. The petition to ask for a congressional hearing set up by Shonta on change.org says: “I am begging for justice. I want the army to be held accountable.” -12 News Now (February 12, 2019)
A Marine colonel’s wife mourns her husband’s death in the Iraq war. Authorities said it was suicide, but she said he was murdered. -CBS News (March 29, 2019)
As Terri Caserta entered her son’s bedroom in their Peoria home, she broke down. It’s an emotion that Terri and her husband Patrick Caserta will always carry with them. Their son Brandon was in the United States Navy from 2015 to 2018. However, at just 21, Brandon would take his own life. -ABC 15 Arizona (June 14, 2019)
A photographer who was on “The Dating Game” became one of the nation’s deadliest serial killers. Eight years after “48 Hours”‘ first report, new victims emerge. Correspondent Peter Van Sant has the latest Saturday, Feb. 17 at 10/9c on CBS.
Rodney Alcala was born in San Antonio, Texas in 1943. His father abandoned the family when he was young. At 17, Alcala enlisted in the Army but there were problems, allegations of sexual misconduct, a nervous breakdown…the Army discharged him. “The military realized in 1963 that they had him, that he was a sexual deviant.” -Stefano Braccini, Former Cold Case Detective, NYPD (48 Hours)
We hear a lot about #weinstein and the latest, but Jennifer Norris, who served in the US Air Force, has been talking about sexual assault for years. And in the military, reporting rape means endangering yourself. Watch this brave woman speak here https://t.co/1ipeI3SWP6pic.twitter.com/TAjiVjmdDS
On May 19, 2016, Marine Corps veteran, Kenneth Gadson, was arrested for the rape and murder of Rina Shimabukuro, 20, a Japanese citizen he chose at random. Gadson was working as a military contractor in Japan and used his wife’s Japanese family name Shinzato. Gadson admitted to the rape and murder of Rina on April 28, 2016 but claimed it was not premeditated. Gadson’s attorney requested that jurisdiction of the case be changed to the Tokyo District Court to ensure a fair trial for his client as the crimes sparked outrage in Okinawa resulting in protests and demands that the US military leave Japan. Gadson was tried for the rape and murder of Rina in a Japanese courtroom and found guilty of rape and murder on December 1, 2017. As punishment, Gadson was sentenced to life with hard labor in a Japanese prison. Gadson appealed the guilty verdict but that appeal was denied.