Colonel may face up to 50 years in harassment-related case
Stars and Stripes March 14, 2006
KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany — Army Reserve Col. Nikki S. McCarty faces a maximum of about 50 years confinement on four charges related to sexual harassment that were outlined in a general court-martial that began Monday.
McCarty is accused of sexually harassing eight subordinate female soldiers — ranging in rank from sergeant to lieutenant colonel — at Camp Bondsteel, Kosovo, in early 2005 when he served as commander of Task Force Medical Falcon. A ninth female soldier claims McCarty sexually assaulted her around the same time in the States.
Specifically, McCarty is charged with cruelty and maltreatment, assault, conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman, and a general article charge for indecent assault on a person not his wife with the intent to gratify his lust or sexual desires. Under each of the four charges, several specifications detail alleged incidents.
The seven-member panel that will determine McCarty’s fate is composed of two colonels, four brigadier generals and one major general.
Army Capt. Javier Rivera, the co-prosecutor, told the panel members that McCarty’s actions during February, March, April and May 2005 were an “abuse of power.”
“[McCarty] solely used his position not for a peacekeeping mission in Kosovo,” Rivera said. “… The accused used his position to sexually harass his subordinates.”
McCarty’s defense counsel acknowledged that some of the events happened, but that McCarty’s actions did not rise to the level of maltreatment, cruelty or assault.
Maj. Richard Hatfield, one of McCarty’s defense counselors, said McCarty is a “hands-on individual” and “does not have the same sense of personal space others do.”
The defense will also attempt to prove that some of the victims fabricated or embellished their claims.
Early on Monday, two female officers testified that McCarty forcibly kissed them on their lips during their deployment to Kosovo.
However, during cross-examination, each woman testified that they did not immediately report the incident.
“He was the commander,” one of the female officers said. “He had just gotten there. I didn’t think anyone would believe me.”
Neither of the officers said anything to McCarty about how they thought the kisses were inappropriate immediately after they happened, the female officers testified under cross-examination.
The court-martial is scheduled to resume Tuesday in Kaiserslautern.