STUTTGART, Germany — A Stuttgart-based Army officer has been sentenced to life in prison without parole after being convicted of raping his three daughters over a six-year period, the Army said.
The officer, a major assigned to U.S. European Command, was found guilty Saturday following a five-day court-martial in Kaiserslautern.
Capt. Meghan McEnerney, the Army’s special victim prosecutor in Europe, credited the three children, all of whom testified during the trial, with having the courage to step forward and confront their father.
“The oldest child testified that her father once told her, ‘Some day when you have children you will have to keep them away from me because I won’t be able to help myself,’ ” McEnerney said in a post-trial statement. “So, both the verdict and sentence from this military jury send an important message to the three child victims — first, ‘we believe you’ and second, ‘you and your children will always be safe.’ ”
The officer was convicted on all 32 specifications of rape, sodomy and lewd acts, according to the Army.
Stars and Stripes is withholding the name of the convicted officer to avoid indirectly identifying the victims.
According to an Army post-trial summary, the sexual assaults began in 2006 when the oldest child was 7 years old and the family was stationed in the U.S. In 2008, the Army officer began sexually assaulting his second daughter who was 6 years old at the time.
“The family moved to a second home in Maryland where the abuse continued in the accused’s self-proclaimed basement ‘man cave,’ ” the Army report stated. “He would tuck his daughters in at night, make them count to 60, and force them to meet him in the man cave where they would be raped and sodomized.”
In 2010, the officer began abusing his youngest daughter, the Army report stated. In 2012, the family moved to Germany where the assaults continued.
“Finally, one day in December 2012 when the oldest daughter was sodomized so brutally that she believed she would die, she disclosed the abuse to her mother in church that same night,” stated an official Army post-trial report.
The mother immediately filed a report with the Army Criminal Investigation Command, which initiated an investigation with the German police. The accused’s semen DNA was obtained during a medical examination of the daughter and later submitted as evidence against the officer during the trial, according to the Army.
“The live testimony from the three child victims shocked the conscience and left little room for doubt that the accused was guilty,” the Army report stated.