The US Supreme Court will be looking into an appeal surrounding an Air Force Major, who just so happened to be convicted of sexually harassing his subordinates.
While Maj. Paul Voorhees was initially convicted of sexually assaulting an enlisted Airman in 2015, his ruling was overturned on appeal.
He did not, however, get away scot-free: five counts of conduct unbecoming of an officer and a gentleman were upheld, effectively landing him in a dismal purgatory of sorts that involves him living with his mother.
The counts involved three different women, and ranged from inappropriate conversations to a back rub that led to allegedly non-consentual sex.
The back rub -which ultimately ended in intercourse and a sexual assault conviction- initially landed Voorhees a three-year prison sentence and a dismissal from the USAF.
The following year, Voorhees’ conviction was overturned because appellate judges did not see how Voorhees could have known there was not mutual consent. According to Military.com, the Court of Appeals agreed with Voorhees that overzealous prosecutors should not have referred to him as “a pig,” and a “narcissistic, chauvinistic, joke of an officer.”
Released from prison, Voorhees cannot fly with a criminal record and has hefty child support payments.
“He can’t get a flying job. He’s unemployable,” his lawyer said.
In the newest challenge, the US Supreme Court will look into the matter of “intent,” as the appeals court noted that “Criminal liability for conduct unbecoming “does not depend on whether conduct actually effects a harm upon a victim but rather on whether the officer possess the general intent to act indecorously, dishonestly or indecently.”
The military court’s decision should be overturned because it made “expressing one’s thoughts, regardless of any intended offensiveness … a crime,” Voorhees’ lawyer wrote in the petition.
Very few cases make it to the US Supreme Court, generally ranging to around 100 out of the thousands submitted each year.
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