Trial delayed for accused Army chaplain
MANNHEIM, Germany — A suspended Army chaplain accused of sexually forcing himself on male troops was granted a trial delay Wednesday so he can go home to attend his father’s funeral.
During his arraignment at the Taylor Barracks courtroom, Capt. Gregory Arflack also told the judge he wanted to unconditionally waive his right to an Article 32 investigation, which means there will be no investigation and the case will go straight to trial.
Arflack, originally from Kentucky, said he did not want to enter a plea before going on emergency leave, and he had not decided if his case should be heard by a judge alone or by a jury panel.
The defense asked that these decisions be deferred until after Arflack returned from the States. A deferment also is necessary to allow time for a psychological counseling program for the accused, the defense contended.
Arflack, 44, who was suspended in mid-August from his duties as a Roman Catholic priest with the 279th Base Support Battalion out of Bamberg, was granted the delay by Col. Denise Lind, the military judge presiding over the arraignment.
“Setting dates for this trial right now would not be realistic,” Lind said during the arraignment.
However, she did advise the counsel to meet with the trial judge, Col. Reynold Masterton from the Würzburg legal center, by Sept. 21 to set potential dates for the case.
After the arraignment Capt. Fred Kranz, Arflack’s attorney, explained that the priest would be on emergency leave for about a week. Then, the trial could start following a psychological review.
Charges against Arflack include three counts of forcible sodomy, three counts of indecent acts, two counts of fraternization with enlisted soldiers, two counts of disobeying orders, one count of indecent assault, and one count of conduct unbecoming an officer, according to Capt. Steve Janko, the prosecution lawyer.
The accusations stem from incidents involving three male enlisted Marines last spring in Qatar, as well as three more incidents with male enlisted soldiers in Bamberg in July. One of the Bamberg troops made an accusation of forcible sodomy from the July incident.
Typically, a court officer would have investigated the accusations against Arflack, then recommend whether he should be court-martialed. Because Arflack waived his right to an Article 32 investigation, his chain of command does not need to make a recommendation on the case and the case will go straight to trial.
Arflack cannot change his mind on the investigation since he agreed to an unconditional waiver.