SAN DIEGO — A military judge Thursday sentenced a female Marine convicted of “attempted adultery” and lying to investigators to a letter of reprimand and the loss of $3,000 in pay.
Lt. Col. Leon Francis could have sentenced her to a year in the brig and a bad-conduct discharge.
Francis, after a three-day court-martial at Camp Pendleton in California, ruled that she was guilty of “attempted adultery” with another staff sergeant — “a man not her husband.”
Under military law, adultery is a crime if it undermines “good order and discipline” or brings “discredit upon the armed forces.”
Testimony showed that the two staff sergeants, who worked together at Camp Pendleton, went to a motel in Temecula after an afternoon of heavy drinking.
The woman is not being named because she reported the incident as a sexual assault, which was not directly addressed in the verdict.
The woman’s husband, a Marine chief warrant officer, complained to authorities that his wife had committed adultery.
Once Marine authorities decided to send the case to a court-martial, the woman alleged that she had been too drunk to consent to sex.
A toxicologist testified that given the amount of drinking, she was probably very close to a “drunken stupor” and could not have consented.
With that testimony in mind, Francis found the defendant not guilty of adultery but guilty of “attempted adultery” for having gone to the motel with the other Marine.
The man, who is unmarried, testified he was unaware the woman was married. He was not charged.
Francis also convicted her of lying when she told investigators that she had not attempted to contact the man after their night at the motel. Testimony indicated she had made several attempts to contact him.
Francis sentenced the 17-year Marine veteran to lose $1,000 in pay per month for three months.
The military rarely prosecutes adultery cases. When it does, it is usually part of a larger case of alleged misconduct. In this case, prosecutors stressed to Francis that the woman, as a noncommissioned officer, must be punished for having told lies.