An entrance sign to Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.

An entrance sign to Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. (U.S. Air Force)

A physician at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington will now face a court-martial for 54 sexual abuse allegations, the Army said Friday.

Maj. Michael Stockin, a staff doctor at Madigan Army Medical Center, was formally charged in August with 23 counts of abusive sexual contact — the least severe of four categories of sexual crimes outlined in the Uniform Code of Military Justice, the basis of law in the armed services. By November, the Army increased the number of charges to 39. The announcement Friday added another 15 charges.

Abusive sexual contact is defined as “touching of the genitalia, anus, groin, breast, inner thigh, or buttocks of any person.” If convicted of the charge, a service member can face up to seven years of confinement, forfeiture of pay and benefits and a dishonorable discharge.

Stockin, a 38-year-old anesthesiologist, will also be the first soldier prosecuted under a new law that removes commanders from deciding whether to proceed with certain criminal cases, including most sex crimes. The Army’s new Office of Special Trial Counsel will handle the prosecution, according to Michelle McCaskill, a spokeswoman for the office at Fort Belvoir, Va.

A court hearing on the charges against Stockin is scheduled for Jan. 23 at Lewis-McChord, according to a case docket list. But McCaskill said Friday that the date could change and a final decision could come next week.

Legislation that created the new special counsels for the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines took effect Dec. 28. The Air Force special counsel will handle Space Force.

The passage of the law was hailed by Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin as a legal landmark.

“It is the most important reform to our military justice system since the creation of the Uniform Code of Military Justice in 1950,” he said. “This reform aims to help strengthen accountability and increase all of our service members’ trust in the fairness and integrity of the military justice system.”

The new law covers 13 offenses, including murder, manslaughter, kidnapping, domestic violence, stalking, child pornography offenses and most sexual assault and sexual misconduct offenses. Sexual harassment will become part of the counsels’ jurisdiction on Jan. 1, 2025.

The law shifts responsibility from commanding officers to specially trained judge advocates for deciding about cases in the 13 offenses. The special trial counsels have exclusive authority to determine if the law covers a case, make a binding determination to send the case to a court-martial, enter into plea agreements on behalf of the government and withdraw or dismiss any charges.

McCaskill said the trial counsels also have the discretion to exercise their authority for “covered offenses” that occurred before the new system became law.

“That is how the case [against Stockin] was chosen,” she said.

McCaskill said 54 different people are not accusing Stockin of sexual abuse. The doctor is accused of abusing some patients multiple times.

Robert Capovilla, a former Army lawyer representing Stockin, could not be reached Friday for comment.

Active-duty personnel and veterans have also filed civil lawsuits against Stockin and the Army.

Stockin was assigned to Lewis-McChord, an installation with an Army base and Air Force field, in July 2019.

Since Stockin joined the Army in May 2013, he has been assigned to Tripler Army Medical Center in Hawaii for a year, Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., for five years, and a five-month deployment to Iraq.

Army investigators have been looking into allegations against Stockin since at least February 2022, when he was barred from seeing patients and was reassigned to Madigan Army Medical Center.

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Gary Warner covers the Pacific Northwest for Stars and Stripes. He’s reported from East Germany, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Britain, France and across the U.S. He has a master’s degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in New York.

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