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Army doctor accused in massive sexual assault case

Members of the 62nd Civil Engineer Squadron, pack up after installing the new Joint Base Lewis-McChord sign at the entrance of the base Sunday. (Abner Guzman/U.S. Air Force)
September 02, 2023

In a significant revelation that could have far-reaching implications for the U.S. military, Maj. Michael D. Stockin, a 37-year-old Army doctor, is under investigation for a vast sexual assault case.

With at least 23 alleged victims, many of whom were his patients, the case may rank as one of the largest sex-abuse cases in recent military history. The details, recently brought to light by military documents accessed by The Washington Post, underscore the ongoing challenges faced by the Defense Department in addressing sexual assault within its ranks.

Stationed at the Madigan Army Medical Center at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington state as an anesthesiologist, Stockin has been prohibited from attending to patients since February 2022. While potential charges could be imminent, official sources remain tight-lipped.

“The Army does not comment on ongoing investigations as a matter of policy,” Cynthia Smith, a military spokeswoman, said. “While we’re limited in what we can say … the Army takes all allegations of sexual assault seriously — this includes investigating thoroughly, supporting victims, and holding offenders accountable when warranted.”

Amid the unfolding investigaiton, a soldier and former patient shared an unsettling account with The Washington Post of his encounter with Stockin. Seeking treatment for a chronic back injury, the soldier felt that Stockin’s examination methods were invasive and inappropriate when the doctor asked him to pull his pants down and eventually held his genitals. This soldier’s experience propelled him to speak up, fearing the misconduct could continue if unreported.

READ MORE: Biden strips military commanders of oversight in sexual assault cases

Adding another layer of complexity, Stockin also faces allegations in a personal matter. Court documents obtained by The Washington Post from Pierce County, Washington, highlight his wife’s plea for a protective order, where she accused him of verbal abuse, harassment, and unwanted sexual advances during their marriage.

While Stockin and his legal team wait for due process, Robert Capovilla, Stockin’s attorney, has urged the public to reserve judgment until all evidence is presented.

Recent political measures might change the way such cases are handled in the future. President Joe Biden recently endorsed an executive order that transfers certain criminal cases, including those related to sexual assault, from military commanders to independent prosecutors. This shift was fueled by years of concerns that some military higher-ups were inadequately addressing the gravity of sexual assault.

Josh Connolly from Protect Our Defenders, a nonprofit focused on aiding sexual assault survivors in the military, underscored the military’s struggles in this area. Pointing out the frequent relocations in military service, Connolly hinted that such conditions might facilitate serial offenses. Given the profound nature of these allegations, many are awaiting the next steps in this crucial investigation.

This news article was partially created with the assistance of artificial intelligence and edited and fact-checked by a human editor.