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Air Force Academy cadet accused of raping woman in 2017 faces court-martial

The panel listens to their instructions during the 167th Theater Sustainment Command's 4th annual mock court martial, Aug. 7-8, 2018, at the Calhoun County Courthouse, Anniston, Alabama. (Sgt. Jeremy Dunkle/Army National Guard)
September 08, 2019

An Air Force Academy cadet accused of raping a woman in 2017 will face court-martial next week on sexual assault charges.

Junior cadet Michael Crotts allegedly raped the woman, who wasn’t identified in court papers, “at or near Colorado Springs” sometime between March 1, 2017 and April 1, 2017, his charge sheet says.

The charge — an alleged violation of Article 120 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice — was filed in March of this year.

Crotts’ court-martial, set to start Sept. 9, likely will include a military jury to weigh evidence and pick a sentence in the event of a conviction.

While military defendants can choose to face trial by a single judge, almost all pick the jury option. Military juries are unlike civilian panels because unanimous consent isn’t required for a verdict. Instead, a two-thirds majority can decide. The military jury also has wide discretion in sentencing, from a maximum of seven years behind bars in this case, to far lighter punishments including monetary fines and letters of reprimand.

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The nation’s military academies have been under the microscope this year over concerns that the vast majority of sexual assaults go unreported.

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© 2019 The Gazette