Air Force Academy cadet faces court-martial on sexual assault charges

By TOM ROEDER | The Gazette | Published: August 1, 2019

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Tribune News Service) — An Air Force Academy cadet accused of groping and kissing a woman without consent will face court-martial next week on sexual assault charges.

Sophomore cadet Andrew Hong is charged with accosting the woman, who wasn’t identified in court papers, on April 28, 2018, while both were visiting Denver, according to charging papers. Hong was charged with one count of attempted abusive sexual contact and two counts of abusive sexual contact.

Hong was charged with the incident on April 4, court papers show. Few details on the case have been released.

Hong’s court-martial, set to start Tuesday, likely will include a military jury to weigh evidence and pick a sentence in the event of a conviction.

While military defendants can choose to face trial by a single judge, almost all pick the jury option. Military juries are unlike civilian panels because unanimous consent isn’t required for a verdict. Instead, a two-thirds majority can decide. The military jury also has wide discretion in sentencing, from a maximum of seven years behind bars in this case, to far lighter punishments including monetary fines and letters of reprimand.

The nation’s military academies have been under the microscope this year over concerns that the vast majority of sexual assaults go unreported.

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