Watch officer cleared to retire with benefits after being subordinated to ‘powerboating’

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A Louisiana Army National Guard officer retired in March with benefits after being found guilty of assault and conduct unbecoming an officer for ‘motorboating’ with an enlisted soldier at a promotion ceremony in Jordan in May 2021.

Court documents show Capt. Billy Crosby, a logistics officer with the 256th Infantry Brigade Combat Team who was deployed to Joint Training Center Jordan, was initially charged with conduct unbecoming an officer and abusive sexual touching.

But during the proceedings, which were first reported by Army Times, he pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of consummated assault and battery and conduct unbecoming.

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“Captain Crosby’s behavior was inconsistent with Army values,” said Maj. Jessica Rovero, spokeswoman for 1st Theater Sustainment Command, in a statement emailed to Military.com. “Several soldiers immediately reported the behavior and Crosby pleaded guilty at trial.”

According to court documents, Crosby told the junior soldier he was planning to ‘motorboat’ during his promotion ceremony to sergeant and he did just that: place his face between her breasts. and “moving it from side to side…without the sergeant’s consent”. in an impromptu ceremony initiated by Crosby on May 15, 2021.

Witnesses corroborated the incident, with one telling investigators that Crosby had previously expressed an interest in the sergeant, asking him to accompany him to another post in Jordan because he “enjoyed watching his breasts,” according to court documents.

The day before the attack, the soldier told Crosby that she did not want a promotion ceremony, according to the documents. The next day, however, Crosby “approached [her]told him to stand up, placed the row in front of his chest, bent down to grab the row with his teeth…then placed his face between [the sergeant’s] boobs… [and] vigorously moved his head from side to side between [her] breasts while holding the row with his teeth.”

Crosby was sentenced to 30 days in jail and allowed to retire with benefits. He was not ordered to pay a fine or sentenced to forfeiture of wages. He was also not required to register as a sex offender, given the lesser charge of assault.

The National Guard Bureau has been criticized by attorneys and members of Congress in recent years for jurisdictional issues relating to criminal cases at state and federal orders and for its failure to investigate and prosecute criminals. cases of sexual assault and harassment.

The U.S. Army and Air Force have jurisdiction over cases that occur while soldiers and airmen are under federal orders, such as the Crosby case, but the services do not have the same authority when the members of the guard are under the orders of the State.

Romero said the Crosby process was conducted in a way that “instills confidence in the process.”

“Throughout the court martial, all parties were treated with dignity and respect,” she said in her statement.

A former enlisted soldier, Crosby deployed to Panama in 1989. His defense attorneys requested a character witness but were denied the opportunity. They argued that the prosecution tried to paint the captain as a “creepy old man”.

Crosby told Stars and Stripes he retired from the Louisiana National Guard on March 31. “I’ve been charged with so much more than I’ve done, and I’ve pleaded guilty for what I did,” he told the publication.

— Patricia Kime can be reached at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @patriciakime.

Related: Sexual assault in the military continues to rise, but major legal reform won’t take effect for years

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