Navy Seal Chief Keith Barry has been through hell and back. He was released from jail in 2017 after serving three years for a crime that he didn’t commit, after it was discovered that one of the top lawyers in the Navy personally tried to ensure he was found guilty.
But Barry has revealed a shocking new claim to American Military News: because he refused to sign Navy documents admitting his guilt while in jail, the Navy denied him his traumatic brain injury (TBI) medication and threw him in isolation.
“During my time incarcerated in [Naval Consolidated Brig Miramar in San Diego], I would not sign paperwork stating that I was guilty of the crime I was convicted of. By not signing it, I was immediately put in desegregation, or isolation, for 30 days,” Barry recalled. “More importantly, my medication that I had been on for several years for my TBI…;” he pauses. “I was cut off from that cold turkey.”
“Not only was I not being given any type of treatment or therapy, I was actually cut off from this medication while in isolation. I had no ability to cope with this,” he said. “I had buried 43 of my friends by the time I was 35, but I had reached a new hell.”
When asked for comment, the Navy denied that action was taken against Barry while he was in the brig.
“There was no action taken against Senior Chief Barry for refusing to sign documents while in the brig, and under no circumstances does the brig deny any prisoner access to prescribed medications,” Navy Personnel Public Affairs Officer Cdr. Karin Burzynski told American Military News.
Barry was charged with rape and later convicted of lesser charges by the U.S. Navy in 2014. He was sentenced to three years in prison. In an unprecedented turn of events four years later, Barry’s conviction was overturned and his case was dismissed; this after two appeals that had left him with no hope.
But it was finally brought to light that there had been unlawful command influence over the decision – meaning people in positions of power intentionally and illegally exerted their influence in order to pre-determine an outcome; in other words, it was about as corrupt as it could get.
Barry was reinstated into the U.S. military this past fall after being dishonorably discharged. He had also been required to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life and was preparing to live out his days a convicted felon.
This was a traumatic turn of events for the Navy SEAL who had served his country for nearly two decades.
Barry, now 44, joined the Navy and went through BUD/S (Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training) when he was 22. By 2013, Barry had served 18 years as an active duty Navy SEAL and been on multiple combat deployments.
He was exposed to blast injuries over the course of eight deployments in Iraq, Barry explained, and had been diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury. He went to the west coast to serve out his “twilight tour” at Naval Amphibious Base Coronado in San Diego Bay before retiring.
In January 2013, the act that his accuser would later allege was rape took place. Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) launched an investigation after his accuser brought forth the allegations, and in October 2014, after a 3-day court-martial, Barry was determined to be guilty of rape. He was jailed in Naval Consolidated Brig Miramar in San Diego on Halloween 2014.
He served two and a half years in jail before being released in 2017, six months early for good behavior. Out of jail, he was now a convicted felon and was expecting to have to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.
He lived in hell for another 18 months – his second appeal had been rejected in the Navy and Marine Court of Appeal. There was virtually no hope at this point to right the wrong.
However, because of new information that someone was brave enough to bring forward to his legal team’s attention, Barry’s case had life again, he said – and so would he.
Three years after the conviction, and after two failed appeals, it was revealed in 2017 that the convening authority in his case had been pressured to rule against the evidence and to uphold the conviction against Barry in the post-trial clemency phase.
In September 2018, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces (CAAF) threw out the charges and dismissed Barry’s case “with prejudice,” meaning the government can never renew the charges or take up the case again.
Barry was reinstated into the Navy at his last held rank, senior chief, and it was ordered that his back pay be restored, as well as his other privileges. He reported to Naval Amphibious Base Coronado in San Diego Bay while he was on active duty following his reinstatement.