Trial Date Set for F-22 Pilot Charged With Rape

Col. Jason Costello (Air Force Photo)
Col. Jason Costello (Air Force Photo)

An Air Force F-22 Raptor pilot charged with multiple crimes, including sexual assault and striking and unlawfully grabbing an individual, is set to be court-martialed in March.

Col. Jason Costello, accused of multiple sexual assault incidents between 2012 and 2014, has been on active duty while he awaits trial, set for March 4, according to North American Aerospace Defense Command spokesman Michael Kucharek.

Costello is assigned to the NORAD and U.S. Northern Command Training and Exercises Directorate, Kucharek told in an email Wednesday.

"He has been in that assignment since July 16, 2016, and is currently working projects as directed by his chain of command," Kucharek said.

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The 21st Space Wing at Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado, remains the convening court authority for Costello's case, Kucharek said.

Costello's court martial was to be held in last October. But on Oct. 11, the military judge in the case set a new trial of March 4.  "Scheduling changes in courts-martial, and in litigation in general, are not uncommon. They can result from scheduling conflicts and a variety of other issues," Brady said.

Costello is charged with violating Article 120 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, defined as rape, sexual assault or other sexual misconduct, according to his charge sheet, obtained in May by

Brady said the charges remain unchanged.

According to the charges, Costello penetrated a woman while she was asleep in 2014. The act allegedly occurred in Rhode Island sometime between October 2014 and December 2014.

On an earlier occasion, Costello assaulted a woman without her consent with intent to gratify himself, sometime between September 2012 and November 2012, another specification states.

Separately, "on diverse occasions between on or about Dec. 4, 2012, and on or about Aug. 1, 2014," Costello committed sexual contact by touching his victim's "breasts over her clothes with his hands and touching her vulva over her clothes with his hands" without her consent, the charge sheet reads.

Another specification under Article 120 has been redacted from the charges; it remains unclear whether it was previously dropped.

Costello also is charged with striking and harming an individual on two occasions.

In 2013, he hit someone in the face, according to a specification under UCMJ Article 128, which covers assault.

Costello also grabbed an individual on his or her arm, wrist and hands in 2017, another specification states.

It's unclear from the charges whether Costello is accused of assaulting a single individual on multiple occasions or multiple individuals.

Costello previously commanded the 325th Training Support Squadron at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, according to a 2012 Air Force release.

He graduated from the Air Force Academy in 1995 and attended pilot training at Reese Air Force Base, Texas, the release stated.

-- Oriana Pawlyk can be reached at Follow her on Twitter at @Oriana0214.

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