The Army has dropped all criminal charges against an armor officer at Fort Cavazos, Texas, who was accused of sexually assaulting a subordinate officer's wife in one of the service's most high-profile and bizarre cases.
Col. Jon Meredith was fired as commander of the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, in October of last year. Meredith was accused of forcefully touching and kissing the wife of another officer below him in the chain of command. Instead, Meredith is facing a general officer memorandum of reprimand, or GOMOR after it was discovered that the encounter was consensual.
"Based on newly discovered evidence, the III Armored Corps commanding general withdrew and dismissed the criminal charges against Col. Jon Meredith," Brian Harris, a corps spokesperson, told Military.com in a statement. "The newly discovered evidence was unrelated to the question of whether Col. Meredith engaged in conduct unbecoming an officer."
"While Col. Meredith will no longer face a court-martial for conduct unbecoming an officer, there is still sufficient evidence to support the commanding general taking appropriate administrative action on the misconduct," Harris added.
Last month, that commander, Lt. Gen. Sean Bernabe, dropped the abusive sexual contact charge against Meredith. On Oct. 13, the last criminal charge, conduct unbecoming an officer, was also dropped.
The newly discovered evidence was text messages between the accuser and the husband who worked under Meredith, according to Sherilyn Bunn, Meredith's attorney. Those messages showed investigators that the physical encounter between Meredith and the accuser was consensual. However, the two had a falling out when the accuser's husband received a lackluster officer evaluation report, or OER.
"Generally, the text messages between the accuser and her husband were about the husband's OER; how he could 'blow things up' if he didn't like it; and the decision to 'go nuclear' once the husband received his OER and decided Col. Meredith's rater comments would negatively impact his rating and his likelihood of getting promoted 'below the zone,'" Bunn told Military.com.
Meanwhile, Col. Ann Meredith, Jon Meredith's wife, was fired in March from her position commanding the 89th Military Police Brigade, also at Fort Cavazos, previously known as Fort Hood. She received a GOMOR and was facing accusations she interfered in her husband's investigation. It is unclear whether she'll see any ramifications on her record in light of the criminal charges against her husband being dropped.
The accuser and her husband, a field-grade officer, could not be reached for comment ahead of publication, so Military.com is withholding their names. Meredith's attorney and Army officials declined to confirm their identities.
-- Steve Beynon can be reached at Steve.Beynon@military.com. Follow him on X @StevenBeynon.