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Why adultery is a crime in the military

 In ARTICLE 134, Blog

The military community is very similar to civilian communities in that it is comprised of human beings making friendships and support connections to increase quality of life and forge ahead with successful lives. This means both communities share similar characteristics both bad and good when it comes to relationship building. However, the military community has special rules about relationships. Violation of these rules can result in lost careers, loss of trust, and broken families all which degrade good order and discipline in the ranks and degrade the mission. Extramarital sexual conduct degrades the mission and is why adultery is a crime in the military. Service members who are accused of violations can face Extramarital Sexual Conduct consequences.

Why inappropriate relationships degrade the mission

Examples of these violations are fraternization and extramarital sexual conduct. Fraternization is when service members of different ranks create inappropriate relationships that create mistrust within the unit. If persons of different ranks have special relationships, other service members may think the relationship creates special benefits for the member who is perceived to be favored by the higher raking person. Extramarital sexual conduct, formerly called adultery in the Manual for Courts-Martial, is when service members have sexual relationships with people who are married to other people or they themselves are married and have a sexual relationship with someone they are not married to. This conduct can also create mistrust within the community. Both types of relationships have the potential to be prejudicial to good order and discipline and can bring discredit upon the armed forces. These consequences to the mission and the good reputation of the military is why adultery is a crime in the military. If allegations are founded in an investigation then the service member can face Extramarital Sexual Conduct consequences.

What are the UCMJ Article 134 Extramarital Sexual Conduct consequences?

UMCJ Article 134 Extramarital Sexual Conduct consequences, like previous-listed adultery consequences, are rather severe compared to the misdemeanor fines of some civilian courts for committing adultery. The maximum punishment according to Article 134 Extramarital Sexual Conduct is a Dishonorable Discharge, forfeiture of all pay and allowances, and confinement for one year.

That said, most commands deal with extramarital sexual conduct by conducting a commander’s investigation, and if the allegations are founded, then the violator can receive non-judicial punishment, a General Officer Memorandum of Reprimand, a Page 13, or a Letter of Concern. These adverse administrative consequences can affect career progression. If these administrative actions are filed locally, the service member has an opportunity to recover from the alleged misconduct. If filed in their personnel record, then the service member may not get promoted, or worse, face the possibility of an adverse separation.

What do commanders consider when charging extramarital sexual conduct?

Adultery is a crime in the military because commanders have a responsibility to maintain good order and discipline within the ranks. Once the commander is made aware of a potential violation of Article 134 Extramarital Sexual Conduct, they will consider whether to charge this offense, previously known as adultery, if the conduct meets certain elements. In general, commanders consider if the conduct allegedly committed is prejudicial to good order and discipline or of a nature to bring discredit upon the armed forces. They will also take into consideration the accused’s marital status, military rank, grade, or position and the co-actor’s marital status, military rank, grade, and position, or relationship to the armed forces. Commanders may also consider the military status of the accused’s spouse or the spouse of co-actor, or their relationship to the armed forces. Commanders are also responsible for safeguarding government resources so they will consider any misuse of government time and resources to facilitate the accused’s misconduct. Commanders will also consider the following in deciding whether to charge: whether the accused or co-actor was legally separated; whether accused continued with the illegal behavior despite being counsel or ordered to stop; and whether the misconduct involves an ongoing or recent relationship or happened long before.

If you find yourself facing extramarital sexual conduct consequences, it’s important to get an experienced and aggressive attorney by your side. An exceptional attorney can mitigate the damage by an aggressive command.  If you are facing any allegations of misconduct and are under investigation, call the Law Office of Peter Kageleiry now at 757-504-2815 or contact us through our online form.

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