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Air Force gay activist awaits trial for forcible sodomy

Kirsten Andersen Kirsten Andersen Follow Kirsten

It’s been a bad month, publicity-wise, for homosexual activists.  Just two weeks after a cofounder of the high-profile pro-gay Human Rights Campaign (HRC) was arrested and charged with raping a 15-year-old boy, the homosexual Washington Blade news service has broken a story about another possible rape by a prominent activist in the movement. 

According to the Blade, Air Force Lt. Joshua Seefried, the activist behind the repeal of the U.S. military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) policy regarding homosexuality, has been charged with forcible sodomy and is facing a court martial after allegedly raping another service member after a party in 2012.

Seefried, 28, reportedly raped Marine Lt. Edgar Luna after the two had attended a get-together with other homosexual military officers celebrating the repeal of DADT.  The group initially met at a restaurant for drinks, then Seefried invited several of the officers to his hotel to enjoy the spa.  Luna took him up on the offer.  Later on, Seefried, Luna, and a third officer, Coast Guard Lt. Commander John Fiorentine, went back to Seefried’s hotel room. 

Luna says he was so intoxicated that he doesn’t remember anything that happened after they left the restaurant, aside from a vague memory of Seefried making sexual advances he said were not consensual.  At some point during the evening, he passed out.  When he awoke around midnight, he was nude and confused.  When he asked Seefried what had happened, Seefried told him that he had seen him engaging in sex acts with Fiorentine. 

Luna filed complaints against both Seefried and Fiorentine, arguing that he was too intoxicated to consent to sexual contact.  As a result, the officers were charged with wrongful sexual contact and forcible sodomy. 

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Fiorentine faced an Article 32 hearing (similar to a civilian grand jury hearing) to determine whether he would face a court martial trial, but the investigator in that case found insufficient evidence to proceed, and the case was dropped. 

The Article 32 investigator in Seefried’s case also recommended dropping the charges due to lack of evidence.  But Major General Darryl Burke, commander of the Air Force District of Washington, overrode the investigator’s recommendation, and Seefried’s commanding officer, Lt. Col. Michael Goodwin, added a third charge of abusive sexual contact.

Seefried’s civilian attorney has suggested that by moving ahead with a court martial despite the Article 32 investigator’s recommendation to drop the case, the Air Force is trying to send a message that it’s taking accusations of sexual abuse seriously.  He asked presiding judge Col. Ira Perkins to dismiss the case, arguing that his client is being prosecuted unfairly due to his superiors’ fear of being perceived as taking a rape claim lightly.

But Burke denies having any ulterior motive for Seefried’s prosecution. 

“I base my decisions on the evidence,” Burke said at Monday’s hearing.

Col. Perkins is now deliberating whether to dismiss the case, or reopen the Article 32 investigation to gather more evidence, as Seefried’s attorney requested in a separate motion.  He is expected to make a decision sometime this week.  In the meantime, Seefried’s trial is scheduled to move forward next month.

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