Congressman protests punishment of soldiers who confronted alleged child rapist

Congressman Hunter (left) attends Sgt. Rafael Peralta's postumous Navy Cross award ceremony. Hunter is protesting the punishment of two Special Forces soldiers who stood up to an alleged child rapist. (hunter.house.gov)

A California congressman is demanding that the Army overturn the punishment handed down to two Special Forces soldiers that stood up to an Afghan commander who kept a young boy as a “sex slave.”

Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Alpine), a former Marine officer who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, is upset about the treatment of Sgt. 1st Class Charles Martland and Capt. Danny Quinn after they confronted an Afghan police commander about his abuse of a young boy.

Rep. Hunter wrote letters to Defense Secretary Ashton Carter and the Inspector General of the Department of Defense, Jon Rymer, stating that Martland admitted to hitting the commander after learning he had been sexually abusing an 11-year-old boy.

According to Hunter, Martland admitted that his conduct was wrong.

After 11 years of service, Martland is being forced out of the Army, effective November 1. Quinn lost his command and has since resigned.

“To intervene was a moral decision,” Hunter wrote Carter, “and Martland and his Special Forces team felt they had no choice but to respond.”

A spokesman for the congressman told the Los Angeles Times that Secretary Carter has not responded to Hunter’s letters.

This week, an Army spokesman was quoted in the Daily Beast saying of Martland and Quinn, “They put their team’s life at risk by doing what they did, by risking catastrophic loss of rapport” with local Afghan officials.

In Hunter’s response to the quote, he said, “To say that you’ve got to be nice to the child rapist because otherwise the other child rapists might not like you is one of the stupidest things I’ve ever heard, it is totally insane and wrong.”

The New York Times recently published a story asserting that U.S. military personnel in Afghanistan have been ordered to ignore instances of children being molested by adults.

General John F. Campbell, the top U.S. general in Afghanistan, denied that such an order exists.

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