Soldier gets jail time for molesting girl, 12
BAUMHOLDER, Germany — A 34-year-old Army specialist was found guilty of sexually assaulting a 12-year-old girl and making a false official statement.
Spc. Cortis Sloan, of Battery D, 4th Battalion, 27th Field Army Regiment, 1st Armored Division, was sentenced Tuesday night to seven years in prison, a dishonorable discharge, forfeiture of all pay and reduction to E-1. He had faced a maximum of 25 years in confinement.
Prosecutors Capt. Brad Crockett and Capt. Chris Anderson told a panel of jurors that after a night of drinking in May 2008, Sloan assaulted the girl in a Baumholder apartment. The girl, however, did not report the incident until two months later, when she was living with her grandparents in Oklahoma.
The girl’s name is being withheld in accordance with Stars and Stripes’ policy not to name the victims of sexual assault.
Investigators first approached Sloan when he was deployed in Iraq. He initially denied touching the girl sexually, but in two subsequent interviews admitted to fondling her, investigators said, each time providing new details about the incident.
"He remembered that night because something significant had happened," Crockett said in his closing statement. "Something that was burned in his memory, something he couldn’t forget."
It was these confessions in Iraq that Crockett asked the jury to ponder.
Defense counselors Capt. Aaron Ralph and Capt. Allison McFeatters countered that Sloan’s confessions had been influenced by the Iraq investigators. Sloan signed three statements, McFeatters said, but none of these was typed by him, and all were taken after hours of questioning by investigators.
Crockett pointed out that Sloan had made the confessions after waiving his right to silence, and even wrote on the sworn statement that the investigators had treated him fairly.
Friends of Sloan, testifying for the defense, said he was "gullible" when he had been drinking. One friend recalled how he convinced Sloan that he had urinated on a car after a night when they had both been drunk.
"Who was the easiest person to give their story?" McFeatters asked in her closing statements. "Gullible Specialist Sloan."
The defense counsel also tried to characterize the girl as untruthful. The teen’s special education teacher spoke about how she had lied routinely about schoolwork, and a guidance counselor testified that she was manipulative.
But the five men and three women on the panel did not believe she had lied. They deliberated for three hours, and returned a guilty verdict on both charges.