A Louisiana Army National Guard officer retired in March with benefits after being convicted of assault and conduct unbecoming an officer for "motorboating" an enlisted soldier during a promotion ceremony in Jordan in May 2021.
Court documents show that Capt. Billy Crosby, a logistics officer with the 256th Infantry Brigade Combat Team who was deployed to Joint Training Center Jordan, initially was charged with conduct unbecoming an officer and abusive sexual contact.
But during the proceedings, which were first reported by Army Times, he pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of assault consummated by battery and conduct unbecoming.
"Capt. Crosby's behavior was not in line with the Army values," Maj. Jessica Rovero, a spokeswoman for 1st Theater Sustainment Command, said in an emailed statement to Military.com. "Multiple Soldiers immediately reported the behavior, and Crosby pled guilty at trial."
According to court documents, Crosby told the junior soldier that he planned to "motorboat" her at her promotion ceremony to sergeant and did just that: placing his face between her breasts and "moving it from side to side ... without the sergeant's consent" during an impromptu ceremony initiated by Crosby on May 15, 2021.
Witnesses corroborated the incident, with one telling investigators that Crosby had previously expressed interest in the sergeant, asking that she ride with him to another post in Jordan because he "liked looking at her tits," court documents state.
The day before the assault, the soldier told Crosby she did not want a promotion ceremony, according to the documents. The next day, however, Crosby "approached [her], told her to stand up, placed the rank in front of her chest, leaned in to grab the rank with his teeth ... then placed his face between [the sergeant's] breasts ... [and] vigorously moved his head from side to side between [her] breasts while still holding the rank with his teeth."
Crosby was sentenced to 30 days in the brig and allowed to retire with benefits. He was not directed to pay any fines or sentenced to forfeiture of pay. He also was not required to register as a sex offender, given the lesser charge of assault.
The National Guard Bureau has been under fire from advocates and members of Congress in the past several years for jurisdictional issues related to criminal cases on state and federal orders and its failure to investigate and prosecute cases of sexual assault and harassment.
The U.S. Army and Air Force have jurisdiction in cases that occur while soldiers and airmen are on federal orders, such as the Crosby case, but the services do not have the same authority when Guard members are on state orders.
Romero said the Crosby proceedings were done in a manner that "inspires trust in the process."
"Throughout the court-martial, all parties were treated with dignity and respect," she said in her statement.
A former enlisted soldier, Crosby deployed to Panama in 1989. His defense lawyers requested a character witness but were denied the opportunity. They argued that the prosecution tried to portray the captain as a "creepy old guy."
Crosby told Stars and Stripes that he retired from the Louisiana Army National Guard on March 31. "I was accused of a lot more than I done, and I pled guilty to what I did," he told the publication.
-- Patricia Kime can be reached at Patricia.Kime@Military.com. Follow her on Twitter @patriciakime.