Osan bar district patrol head pleads guilty to host of charges
OSAN AIR BASE, South Korea — Air Force 1st Lt. Jason D. Davis pleaded guilty Tuesday to offenses he committed while heading the Air Force police team that patrolled the bar district outside Osan Air Base.
Davis, of the 51st Security Forces Squadron, pleaded guilty to conduct unbecoming an officer; activities prejudicial to good order and discipline or that were discrediting to the service; violation of orders; and making a false official statement.
On Tuesday, Davis opted to be tried by a military judge rather than a jury. His general court-martial then began just before 11 a.m. before Air Force Lt. Col. Eric Dillow, a military judge with the Pacific Circuit.
Until his March 1 arrest, Davis headed the Songtan Town Patrol, which polices the Shinjang commercial district of bars, restaurants and other businesses catering mainly to U.S. servicemembers.
In exchange for his plea to the guilty charges, prosecutors agreed to withdraw several earlier charges including rape and assault. On May 13, they had charged Davis 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.
Dillow accepted the guilty plea only after questioning Davis meticulously, one charge at a time, to ensure he understood exactly to what he was pleading guilty, its consequences, and that he made each plea voluntarily.
Davis faces a maximum possible sentence of 21 years and three months in prison, dismissal from the Air Force and total forfeiture of pay and allowances.
He and Osan officials await word on whether the Secretary of the Air Force will grant Davis’ July 6th request to resign in lieu of court-martial, a legal procedure known as RILO.
It’s up to the Secretary of the Air Force to grant such requests. But while the matter is pending before the secretary, Air Force headquarters gave Osan prosecutors permission to commence the court-martial. Once the trial is over, prosecutors can take no further action in the matter until the secretary renders his decision in the RILO matter.
Witness testimony during Tuesday’s proceedings provided specifics leading to the charge of conduct unbecoming an officer. It arose from an accusation that Davis maintained an improper relationship with a subordinate airman.
Airman 1st Class Nathan D. Dooge, formerly of the 51st Security Forces Squadron, said Davis pressured him to house-sit Davis’ dogs without pay.
Davis encouraged him to drink alcoholic beverages although he was 19 and under the legal drinking age, Dooge testified.
He said Davis also had him take part in unauthorized “sting” operations in which Dooge and other airmen would enter clubs and try to buy alcohol or try to arrange sexual liaisons with bar girls — a process known as “bar fining” and a violation of U.S. Forces Korea policy.
In addition, Dooge testified, Davis fired plastic pellets at him from an airgun, locked him for about 30 minutes in the squadron’s women’s dressing room and refused to release him.
The court also heard testimony from Lee Hye-chin, who said she got to know Davis while she managed the off-base Zone Club.
Lee testified Davis would pay about $200 to “bar fine” various female club workers.
And on one occasion, according to Lee, Davis pressured her unsuccessfully to arrange a liaison, free of charge, with bar girls.
“He want to have Korean or Russian girls,” Lee testified. “He want me to hook up for him. … He want me to get for him free.”
When she declined, she said, Davis raised the possibility that he could use his position as head of the Town Patrol to have the club put off-limits.
Earlier in the proceedings, Davis told Dillow he’d maintained a sexual relationship with Kim Mun-hui, a woman with family ties to another local club.
Kim, Davis said, lavished numerous gifts on him, including a Chrysler Sebring car, a Rolex watch, Louis Vuitton slippers and cash.
“We also took a vacation to Guam,” Davis told Dillow. “I also accepted free drinks from bar owners.”
The trail was set to resume Wednesday morning.
Davis’ guilty plea
Air Force 1st Lt. Jason D. Davis pleaded guilty to charges stemming from running illicit police undercover operations; accepting cash from club owners; maintaining illicit sexual liaisons with bar girls; violating the U.S. military’s curfew that his police team had the duty of enforcing; being drunk and disorderly; having sex with women who were not his wife; illegal weapons possession; illegally maintaining an off-base apartment; using racial and ethnic slurs; filing a leave request with false information as to his intended destination; and maintaining an improper relationship with a subordinate airman.
— Stars and Stripes