Crime

National Guardsmen Charged With Rape

| by David Bonner

Four Kentucky National Guardsmen were charged on June 15 with sexual assault.

According to police, the assault was reported on June 3, reports The Associated Press. The female victim was reportedly given alcohol and then sexually assaulted.

Those arrested by Kentucky State Police are: Anthony R. Tubolino, 25; Tyler A. Hart, 19; Austin L. Dennis, 21; and Jacob F. Ruth, 22.

Tubolino was charged with second-degree rape, second-degree sodomy and third-degree unlawful transaction with a minor. Hart was charged with first-degree sexual abuse and second-degree sodomy. Dennis and Ruth were charged with second-degree sodomy.

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Authorities said a preliminary investigation showed that the men were preparing for a weekend deployment at the time of the incident. Kentucky Adjutant General Maj. Gen Stephen Hogan called sexual assault a "reprehensible act" and said the Guard will support the victim.

All four suspects are being held in jail.

Information on sexual assault within National Guard units is difficult to obtain, as WNBC reported in a 2015 investigation.

The U.S. Department of Defense publishes annual reports on sex assault in federal military branches. However, National Guard units are under the authority of state governors, and there is no uniform reporting of information about sex crimes and sexual misconduct within specific National Guard units, the news station noted.

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Survey questionnaires sent by WNBC to every National Guard unit in the nation provided the first publicly available numbers on what happens to those accused of raping or sexually assaulting their fellow service members.

Responses, which were received from 40 of 54 units, revealed that only six states -- Arkansas, California, Louisiana, North Carolina, South Carolina and Wisconsin -- held a court martial in the five years between 2010 and 2015 to specifically investigate an allegation of sexual assault.

Idaho was the only state to report  issuing a dishonorable discharge as a result of a sex crime, while only three states -- Arkansas, California and Massachusetts -- reported incarcerating an alleged offender.

More than two-thirds of the responding states reported they issued "letters of reprimand" for sexual assault or other types of administrative punishment, such as reduction in rank.

Almost all states -- 35 of the 40 reporting -- indicated that they must rely on civilian law enforcement to conduct a criminal investigation and their civilian court system to try the case.

Sen. Kristen Gillibrand, a Democrat from New York, deemed the WNBC investigation "the first slice of information we actually have" regarding the issue of sexual assault in the National Guard.

Sources: AP via Daily Mail, WNBC / Photo credit: Buffy May/Flickr

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