A special court martial handed down a reprimand to an Army lieutenant colonel who was caught putting cameras in the dressing room of a clothing store by a 16-year-old girl. The Lt. Col., who fled from police when caught, pleaded guilty but will serve no jail time.
The slap on the wrist comes after civilian prosecutors initially attempted to pursue a criminal conviction. The Army convinced the court to let it handle the matter internally, however, and the officer was instead prosecuted through the Uniform Code of Military Justice. (UCMJ). Further, Motherboard found while seeking records related to the case that the court documents have since been sealed.
The case illustrates a disturbing trend where the Pentagon swoops in to protect its soldiers when they commit a crime. If convicted in a civilian court, Sweatland could have served up to a year in jail. Instead, a military judge issued a reprimand, an official black mark on Swetland’s military record.
When asked if Sweatland would have to register as a sex offer, a representative for the U.S. Army Cadet Command told Motherboard it would comply with state law. “A court-martial convicted Lt. Col. Sweatland of a qualifying sex-related offense. The Army is complying with all sex-related offense processing requirements,” Maj. Dan Lessard, spokesman for U.S. Army Cadet Command, told Motherboard.