UCMJ Article 120

UCMJ Article 120

Rape and Sexual Assault Generally


A service member of the United States Armed Forces who rapes, sexually assaults, or physically abuses or threatens to abuse another person with sexual contact, groping or unwanted sexual advances will be charged under Article 120 of the UCMJ.

Over the last 10-15 years sexual assault has been the focus of many significant changes to the Uniform Code of Military Justice and recent events involving high profile celebrities accused of sexual assault has again highlighted this issue. Far too often the military approach to allegations of sexual assault is to shoot first and ask questions later. This mentality has resulted in hundreds of innocent service members finding their life, liberty, and career on the line. These charges are serious and need to be met with a serious strategic defense.

 

Maximum Possible Punishments for Violations of Article 120: Rape and Sexual Assault Generally

The maximum punishment according to Article 120 varies according to the alleged offense. For example:

Rape – Forfeiture of all pay and allowances and confinement for life without eligibility for parole. In addition, rape includes a mandatory minimum sentence of a dismissal or dishonorable discharge.

Sexual Assault – Forfeiture of all pay and allowances and confinement for 30 years. In addition, sexual assault includes a mandatory minimum sentence Dismissal or dishonorable discharge

Aggravated sexual contact -Forfeiture of all pay and allowances, confinement for 20 years, and a Dishonorable Discharge.

Abusive sexual contact – Forfeiture of all pay and allowances, confinement for 7 years, and a Dishonorable Discharge.

 

Understanding Article 120 of the UCMJ

There are eight separate crimes outlined in Article 120. Each offense has a unique set of elements.

  1. Rape involving contact between penis and vulva or anus or mouth
  2. Rape involving penetration of the vulva or anus or mouth by any part of the body or any object
  3. Sexual assault involving contact between penis and vulva or anus or mouth
  4. Sexual assault involving penetration of the vulva or anus or mouth by any part of the body or any object
  5. Aggravated sexual contact involving the touching of the genitalia, anus, groin, breast, inner thigh, or buttocks of any person
  6. Aggravated sexual contact involving the touching of any body part of any person
  7. Abusive sexual contact involving the touching of the genitalia, anus, groin, breast, inner thigh, or buttocks of any person
  8. Abusive sexual contact involving the touching of any body part of any person

Summary of Article 120: Article 120 offenses can be divided into categories. These include rape,sexual assault, aggravated sexual contact, and abusive sexual contact.

In the first two offenses, the law requires the government to prove penetration took place and that physical harm occurred. Physical component is also present with aggravated sexual contact, although prosecutors do not have to prove penetration took place. Finally, abusive sexual contact involves other forms of sexual contact that do not meet the aggravation requirements of aggravated sexual contact

 

How do you defend against Article 120 charges?

When you are facing the combined resources of the military as well as the current cultural climate, you need to be prepared to defend your career and your freedom. Crisp and Associates, LLC has a team of experienced trial attorneys who have won these cases. This team includes the firm’s founder Jonathan Crisp, a highly respected former Army JAG with over 17 years of experience in military law and a sought-after speaker and lecturer on military law. In 2015 the firm recruited R. Davis Younts a former prosecutor who was the number one rated Senior Defense Counsel in the Air Force, and who has taught at the Army and Air Force JAG Schools and successfully achieved acquittals in multiple rape, sexual assault, and sexual contact cases in courts-martial in multiple branches of the service.

If you are someone you know is facing Article 120 charges you need to speak with a Military defense attorney right away. Please call Crisp and Associates Military at 717-412-4676 for a free consultation.

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