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US Army doctor charged with sexual misconduct

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The US Army has charged a military doctor with sexual misconduct, a spokeswoman said Thursday, in a major case that reportedly involves more than 20 alleged victims.

Major Michael Stockin — an anesthesiologist who joined the Army in May 2013 and is stationed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in the state of Washington — was charged earlier this week, Lieutenant Colonel Jennifer Bocanegra said.

“The general nature of the charges include abusive sexual contact and indecent viewing in violation of the Uniform Code of Military Justice,” she said.

“The charges will now be reviewed for legal sufficiency by an independent officer at a pretrial preliminary hearing pursuant to federal law.”

The Washington Post, which first reported that Stockin was under investigation, said this could be one of the military’s largest sexual abuse cases in years, and that it involves at least 23 alleged victims.

Stockin’s attorney Robert Capovilla told the Post, prior to charges being filed, “I would simply ask that everyone simply reserve judgment until he has the right to be heard, until his defense team is given all of the evidence, and until due process plays its course.”

According to Pentagon data, there were 8,942 reports of sexual assault involving military personnel as either perpetrators or victims in fiscal year 2022 — an increase of one percent from the year before.

Last month, President Joe Biden signed an order changing the way the US military investigates sexual assault cases by shifting power away from unit commanders to independent prosecutors.

Among the powers that now fall exclusively to prosecutors is deciding whether or not to lodge charges of serious crimes.

The White House called it the “most significant transformation of the military justice system” since it was established in 1950, ensuring that cases will be “fully independent” from the chain of command.

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Agence France-Presse (AFP) is a French international news agency headquartered in Paris, France. Founded in 1835 as Havas, it is the world's oldest news agency.

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