Kunsan officer cleared of misconduct charges
June 22, 2006
An Air Force officer at Kunsan Air Base was found not guilty Tuesday of various charges of improper conduct toward female airmen.
1st Lt. Erik S. Thompson of the 8th Fighter Wing had been charged with fraternization, indecent assault and using indecent language. Prosecutors said the charges arose from a unit going-away party on March 18 that began on base and continued off base.
But a seven-member jury — two Air Force lieutenant colonels, four majors and a captain — acquitted Thompson of all charges after deliberating for about three hours Tuesday.
“Lieutenant Thompson’s just grateful that he was able to present his case in court and he’s very happy to move on with his life and see what his future has for him,” said Capt. Elizabeth M.D. Pullin, Thompson’s circuit defense counsel, based at Yokota Air Base, Japan. She and other members of the defense team declined to comment on specifics of the case.
Prosecutors had contended Thompson touched a female junior enlisted airman and used inappropriate language. They also contended he invited a female noncommissioned officer to his home and attempted to touch her inappropriately.
A conviction could have carried a maximum of 7½ years in prison, forfeiture of all pay and allowances and dismissal from the Air Force.
The general court-martial began Saturday before Air Force Col. Steven A. Hatfield, chief military judge for the Pacific Circuit out of Yokota Air Base, Japan.