Air Force Academy Cadet Faces Court-Martial on Sexual Assault Charge

Class of 2023 basic cadets participate in the annual march back from Jack’s Valley to the United States Air Force Academy’s terrazzo after completing basic training on July 31, 2019, in Colorado Springs, Colo. (U.S. Air Force photo/Trevor Cokley)
Class of 2023 basic cadets participate in the annual march back from Jack’s Valley to the United States Air Force Academy’s terrazzo after completing basic training on July 31, 2019, in Colorado Springs, Colo. (U.S. Air Force photo/Trevor Cokley)

An Air Force Academy cadet accused of raping a woman in 2017 will face court-martial next week on sexual assault charges.

Junior cadet Michael Crotts allegedly raped the woman, who wasn't identified in court papers, "at or near Colorado Springs" sometime between March 1, 2017 and April 1, 2017, his charge sheet says.

The charge -- an alleged violation of Article 120 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice -- was filed in March of this year.

RelatedAir Force Academy Cadet Pleads Guilty to Assault, Gets Prison Term

Crotts' court-martial, set to start Sept. 9, 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.

This article is written by Evan Ochsner from The Gazette (Colorado Springs, Colo.) and was legally licensed via the Tribune Content Agency through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

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