Lawmaker Demands Army Answers About Cop Killer

Slain Santa Cruz police Sgt. Loran Baker and detective Elizabeth Butler were remembered March 7 at a memorial service in San Jose, Calif. A Congresswoman wants to know why the Army dropped rape charges against the killer, Jeremy Goulet.
Slain Santa Cruz police Sgt. Loran Baker and detective Elizabeth Butler were remembered March 7 at a memorial service in San Jose, Calif. A Congresswoman wants to know why the Army dropped rape charges against the killer, Jeremy Goulet.

WASHINGTON -- A member of the House Armed Services committee on Monday called for a full investigation into the Army's dropped rape charges against Santa Cruz cop killer Jeremy Peter Goulet.

A prominent critic of the military's handling of sexual assault cases, Rep. Jackie Speier, D-San Mateo, said she wants a Capitol Hill hearing on why two Army court-martials brought against Goulet in 2006 were dropped in exchange for an "other than honorable" discharge.

"I want there to be a full investigation, and I'd like a subcommittee hearing. I think it's that telling. It's so incredibly tragic and so incredibly preventable," Speier said during an interview Monday.

Speier said Goulet could have been in jail, "Not having killed two law enforcement officers and preyed on other women."

Before ambushing detective Sgt. Loran "Butch" Baker and detective Elizabeth Butler on Feb. 26, Goulet had a lengthy history of run-ins with the law both in and out of the military. He was cited in several cities for peeping activities, and in 2007 discharged a firearm while fighting with the boyfriend of one victim.

Yet the 35-year-old barista always seemed to escape serious punishments that would have landed him in prison with a lengthy sentence and prevented him from lawfully owning a gun. Goulet's father has since described his son, who was killed in the melee, as a "ticking time bomb" who distrusted police and the justice system.

Speier is a minority member of the Republican-led House Armed Services, as well as the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee. Scheduling hearings is the responsibility of the majority party, with Rep. Martha Roby, R-Ala., heading the subcommittee. Roby could not immediately be reached for comment.

In 2006, Goulet was accused of rape shortly after arriving in Hawaii, according to his then-defense attorney. Instead of being locked up in a brig, Goulet was confined to base, where several months later he allegedly raped a second female officer.

Yet he was discharged in early 2007. Army officials have not returned several requests for comment, including one made Monday. Nor have they responded to a Freedom of Information Act request for court-martial records.

Speier's office is also seeking those records. The Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office also wants to obtain them as it prepares a report on the shootings.

Speier is holding a press conference Tuesday to herald the introduction of the Military Judicial Reform Act, which would strip commanders of their power to overturn the decisions of judges and juries after court-martials.

The bill comes after several days of outcry after an Air Force general overturned the one-year sentence and military dismissal of a lieutenant colonel convicted on sex assault charges.

As many as 19,000 men and women are raped in the military annually, according to some estimates. Former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta -- who spoke at last week's memorial for Baker and Butler -- tried to address the problem through a series of changes, including creation of special sexual assault investigator units.

"This issue's been around for 25 years," Speier said. "There's been one scandal after another, and when I got to Congress I just thought, 'This is enough.' "

If pursued, the Army court-martial could have sent Goulet to prison for life. Instead, he left Hawaii for Portland, serving two years in jail there for peeping and unlawfully carrying a concealed firearm.

When released, Goulet headed to Berkeley and then Santa Cruz.

"That's my concern. "... You may be giving a pass to a sexual predator," Speier said. "Not only do they get away with it while they're in the military, but then they're released and they prey on people in the civilian world."

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