Aberdeen Officer Gets Light Prison Sentence on Sex Charges
Aberdeen Proving Ground's Capt. Derrick Robertson pleaded guilty and was sentenced on March 20 to only four months in prison on charges of adultery, sodomy, conduct unbecoming an officer and failing to obey a general lawful order. Roberston admitted to having sex with a 20-year-old female private under his command who came to him seeking advice about sexual harassment and abuse she had experienced from another male officer. Robertson could have been sentenced to up to 10 and a half years in prison for those charges and was cleared of the more serious charges of rape, indecent assault, and the obstruction of justice.
Seven other Aberdeen staff members have been charged with criminal sexual offenses, three of whom face courts-martial. Two others have agreed to discharges. Robertson, the first to face a court-martial, was the highest-ranking officer accused of sexual misconduct at Aberdeen. Newspaper accounts of the trial described Robertson as "relaxed" and "smiling" during the proceedings. The plea-bargain stipulated one year in prison but suspended eight months of that sentence.
The Congressional Women's Caucus has called for prosecution of sex offenders to be the Army's top priority despite recent concerns that investigators have been overzealous. The NAACP recently criticized the investigation and held a press conference in which five white female recruits said investigators tried to coerce them into saying they were raped by black men despite the fact that they had never made such charges. Over 50 women have come forward with allegations of sexual abuse since the Aberdeen investigation opened in November, and members of the Congressional Women's Caucus have urged that the Army investigation be allowed to run its course.
Media Resources: USA Today - March 20, 1997; The Washington Post - March 21, 1997, The New York Times - March 21, 1997
10/30/2014 Medication Abortion Access Threatened by Oklahoma Court Ruling - An Oklahoma state district court judge has refused to block a state law restricting medication abortion, clearing the way for the law to go into affect on November 1.
The Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice, together with a local abortion clinic in Tulsa, challenged HB 2684 in September, arguing that the law was an unconstitutional restriction on non-surgical abortion in the earliest weeks of pregnancy. . . .
10/30/2014 UPS Switches Pregnant Worker Policy Ahead of Supreme Court Case - The United Parcel Service (UPS) is changing its policy on light duty assignments for pregnant workers, even though the company will stand by its refusal to extend accommodations to a former employee in an upcoming Supreme Court case.
UPS announced on Monday in a memo to employees, and in a brief filed with the US Supreme Court, that the company will begin offering temporary, light-duty positions to pregnant workers on January 1, 2015. . . .
10/30/2014 North Dakota Medical Students Speak Out Against Measure 1 - Medical students at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences are asking North Dakotans to vote no on Measure 1, a personhood measure on the state ballot this fall.
The students issued published a letter in the Grand Forks Herald stating that they opposed Measure 1 in part because they are against "the government's taking control of the personal health care decisions of its citizens." Nearly 60 UND School of Medicine students signed the letter, citing concerns over the "very broad and ambiguous language" used in the proposed amendment, which has no regard for serious and life-threatening medical situations such as ectopic pregnancies.
Measure 1 would change the North Dakota state constitution to create an "inalienable right to life" for humans "at any stage of development" - including the moment of fertilization and conception. . . .