Court-martial of officer accused of shaking down bar owners will proceed at Osan
September 16, 2005
OSAN AIR BASE, South Korea — Air Force prosecutors will go ahead next week with the court-martial of 1st Lt. Jason D. Davis, who faces bribery, rape and other charges in an alleged shakedown of bars outside Osan Air Base, officials said.
Davis, of the 51st Security Forces Squadron, headed the base’s Air Force police team that patrolled the commercial district just outside the base.
The trial is set for Tuesday morning — even though the Secretary of the Air Force has yet to announce whether he will allow Davis to resign instead of being court-martialed.
Davis on July 6 asked to resign under a legal procedure known as RILO, or resignation in lieu of court-martial. It is up to the Secretary of the Air Force to decide whether to grant such requests.
Under Air Force regulations, prosecutors may ask Air Force headquarters at the Pentagon for permission to proceed with a trial even while a RILO decision is pending, said Lt. Col. J. Steven Meador, the staff judge advocate for the 51st Fighter Wing at Osan.
Air Force headquarters granted that permission, Meador said, but with the requirement that the convening authority in the Davis case take no further action in the matter — including enacting any punishments should Davis be found guilty — until the Air Force secretary makes his RILO decision.
Lt. Gen. Gary R. Trexler, commander of 7th U.S. Air Force at Osan Air Base, is convening authority in the Davis case, a general court-martial.
“The permission to proceed to trial is not a prediction as to the final decision” of the Air Force secretary in the RILO matter, Meador said.
Prosecutors had initially set the trial for next Monday but moved it to Tuesday, for the scheduling convenience of participants, said Capt. David Smith, 51st Fighter Wing chief spokesman.
The Air Force charged Davis on May 13 with bribery, extortion, rape, assault, larceny, adultery, violations of regulations and lawful orders, willful dereliction of duty, making false official statements and conduct unbecoming an officer.
The charges stem from the period when Davis headed the Songtan Town Patrol, an Air Force police team that patrols the Shinjang commercial district of bars, restaurants and shops.
Davis has been in the U.S. military’s lock-up at Camp Humphreys awaiting trial.
A South Korean judge has entered a summary judgment fining Davis about $4,800 after convicting him of illegally possessing firearms. South Korean prosecutors indicted Davis on the charge July 1.
The case has drawn intense interest within the U.S. military in South Korea, as well as from South Korean activist groups.
Last month, civic group leaders said they were banding together to press the U.S. military to deny Davis’s RILO request. Kim Yong-han, head of the Task Force To Oppose The Expansion of U.S. Bases in Pyeongtaek, told Stars and Stripes last month that his and other groups would mount large protest rallies if Davis were not court-martialed. Kim could not be reached for comment Wednesday.