Colonel Doug ‘Bulldog’ James flew the A-10 and F-15C for the Air Force. He also worked at the Pentagon and on USAF’s Legislative Liaison Staff ensuring Congressional members understood the importance of Air Power to make America strong. Doug flew over 2,800 hours in fighter aircraft, over 500 of which was in combat, supporting Operations PROVIDE COMFORT, SOUTHERN WATCH and NORTHERN WATCH. Finally, Doug worked on multiple General officers staff, in fact in 2013, Doug screened for General Officer himself.
Doug’s hard work and career came to an end in May of 2013 when he was accused of sexual assault by his step-daughter during his wife’s custody battle for her children from a previous marriage. Within a month of the allegation, it was immediately disregarded by Orange County, CA police due to their disbelief, the obvious inaccuracies, and the additional allegation of attempted murder made against his wife. Unfortunately, the USAF decided to pursue the baseless and fabricated case due to political pressure. Even though Colonel James passed a polygraph, for over two and a half years, the OSI harassed Doug, his family, children, friends, co-workers, and even his ex-wife, to try and turn the non-issue into something it wasn’t.
When reading the OSI’s official report it was obvious to see a “victim” skewed investigation and the lack of support for the accuser’s story from two family counselors, a social worker, and the entire family. Doug’s wife, the step daughter’s mother, gave the OSI files of documentation attesting to the protracted custody battle and numerous prior accusations dismissed as unfounded by the civilian authorities. In fact, Shannon James could prove by dates, the kids threating phone calls, voice messages and text messages, the actual malicious intent of Shannon’s ex-husband for the allegation. Shannon gave all of the information to the OSI, but unbelievably it was never used in their final report which was their basis for the government’s Article 32 hearing.
Shannon’s three OSI interviews of over an hour and a half each were summarized in one page of the report without any of her evidence attached. As a result, the Article 32 hearing was biased towards the accuser, and the case was recommended for trial by Court Martial. It is interesting to note, Doug’s civilian defense attorney did not want to present any evidence because the case would go to a Court Martial no matter how strong the defense, based entirely on the type of allegation made and the current political climate.
After a two-and-a half year investigation a Court Martial was planned for the week of Oct 27th, 2016. Two weeks before the Court Martial, an E-mail was sent by the prosecution to the Secretary of the United States Air Force and the Chief of Staff of the Air Force informing them the case would not go to the planned Court Martial, because there was not ‘probable cause’ to do so. In the E-mail, the Prosecution referenced a forensic psychologist’s report saying “not only was there not evidence beyond a reasonable doubt, there wasn’t even probable cause.” To this day, Col James has not been given this report, or an explanation of why the charges were dropped; a clear ‘Brady’ violation. Colonel James knows for a fact the new evidence exists, because it was written in an AF Times article.
Col James’ case is a classic example of a military judicial system paralyzed and even corrupted due to political pressure. The after effects of his case prove the military judicial system is a national security issue. As a result of his case, the case’s convening authority a Lt Gen, the Maj Gen PACAF Vice Commander, and Doug’s immediate boss the Brig Gen PACAF Director of Operations all were retired without notice. Col James himself retired due to his lack of confidence of USAF leadership at the highest levels. Any one of the proposed Save Our Heroes legislative changes would have ended this baseless allegation in an appropriate length of time and saved three senior and highly respected officers their jobs.
This article was originally featured at Save Our Heroes, where Doug James serves as foundation President. It is shared here with permission, in the continuing effort to shine a light on the increasingly distressing and obvious politicization of military prosecutions — especially those involving allegations of sexual misconduct of any kind. In Col. James’ case, the fact charges were pursued without probably cause is grounds for disciplinary action against the prosecutors in his case, and this should be pursued by Air Force leaders who were made aware of it in the fall of 2016.