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June-11-04

Air Force Cadet Takes Plea Deal in Rape Case

Douglas Meester, the Air Force cadet accused of rape last year, settled his case with a reprimand and a fine of $2000 on Tuesday. As part of the plea deal, the original charges of rape, forcible sodomy, indecent assault and conduct unbecoming an officer for providing alcohol to minors were dismissed, reported the Colorado Gazette. These charges were replaced with dereliction of duty for providing alcohol to minors, conduct unbecoming an officer for having sex with a drunken woman and indecent acts for having sex as another male slept nearby. Had Meester been convicted, the Air Force Print News reported that he would have faced, at most, a life sentence, dismissal from the Air Force and a forfeiture of pay. The agreement will be reviewed in the next couple weeks by academy superintendent Lt. Gen. John Rosa Jr. for final approval.

Meester was accused of raping a female cadet last October after she had been drinking with upperclassmen in his dorm. The woman reported the incident to her cadet commander and academy administrators but was instead disciplined for violating rules against having sex with upperclassmen and faced reprimands for illegal drinking, according to the Denver Post. This was the first trial since the Air Force rape scandal two years ago, and Meester is so far the only cadet to face a court martial.

Believing the chances of conviction were slim and wishing to avoid the further anxiety and emotional upheaval of a formal court martial, the woman "tepidly endorsed the deal," reported the Colorado Gazette. Following the incident, she left the Air Force Academy voluntarily in November 2002. The Air Force Print News reports that Meester is still officially a cadet at the academy. However, he is currently attending college in Florida.

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Media Resources: Denver Post 7/3/03; Air Force Print News 6/8/04; Colorado Gazette 6/8/04; Feminist Daily News Wire

   

     

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