Embattled private is found guilty of unauthorized leave
May 3, 2007
CAMP CASEY, South Korea — A private whose spousal rape, kidnapping and assault charges were dropped against him, was sentenced to four months in jail for lesser offenses Tuesday at the Camp Casey courtroom.
Pfc. David Simmons, of the 2nd Infantry Division’s 302nd Brigade Support Battalion, Fox Company, received a bad-conduct discharge and reduction in rank to E-1 for multiple unauthorized absences, disorderly conduct, failure to report for duty and disobeying orders.
Simmons originally pleaded not guilty to the rape, kidnapping and two assault charges. Military Judge Col. Gregory Gross, however, dismissed the charges after Simmons’ wife failed to appear in court.
The charges were dismissed without prejudice, meaning the government can still prosecute should his wife come forward.
Simmons pleaded guilty to the remaining charges and will receive credit for 148 days of jail time already served, meaning he has already served his four-month sentence.
Simmons partially blamed his inability to obtain a Warrior Pass, which would have allowed him to stay off-post with his wife, on his arrest for unauthorized absence between Nov. 27 and Dec. 18.
Simmons fell asleep over Thanksgiving weekend and stayed at the off-post apartment he shared with his wife, whom he met working at a bar in “The Ville” outside Camp Casey.
“I got a call from a friend that they were putting up posters of me at the front gate before the 4-day weekend ended,” Simmons said. “I was confused and didn’t really know what to do.”
Military police arrested him not far from post on Dec. 18.
Simmons and his supervisor, Sgt. Michael Wissner, testified that Simmons had submitted his marriage certificate to command and applied for the pass three times.
His previous company commander denied his application. His current company commander, Capt. Donald Little, testified that he denied the application because Simmons had not submitted his marriage certificate or completed Army Family Team Building class.
Prosecutor Capt. Marlin Paschal described Simmons as a “disruptive force” in his unit, a description that Little backed up during testimony.
Simmons had previously received nonjudicial punishment in March and August 2006, Little said.
Wissner described Simmons, a tank mechanic, as a “go-to-guy” on the job. Simmons’ mother also testified that he had matured considerably during his pretrial confinement.
Defense lawyer Capt. Chris Waite argued that the remaining charges against Simmons, which included failure to report, wrongfully leaving post and disorderly conduct, are usually punished nonjudicially.
“An Article 15 – that’s the way to take care of these things, like missing (physical training) formations,” Waite said.
The Simmons case was mentioned during development of a U.S. Forces Korea marriage policy issued March 2, legal officials said.
The policy requires command notification of marriages and counseling from both a chaplain and commander.