Sergeant Major convicted of molesting child, but not kicked out of military

CSM Virgil Ebrecht during a change of command ceremony. Photo Credit: Facbook

The US military is facing troubling accusations this week for overlooking the sexual abuse of boys.  Gregory Buckley Sr., the father of Lance Corporal Gregory Buckley Jr., has brought these accusations forward less than a month after the Army handed down an extremely light sentence to a Sergeant Major for sexually abusing a minor.

Not long before Lance Cpl. Buckley Jr. was murdered in Afghanistan he had called his father to tell him he could hear Afghan police officers sexually abusing boys they had brought to the base.

According to the New York Times, Gregory Sr. recalls his son telling him, “At night we can hear them screaming, but we’re not allowed to do anything about it,” He continued to say, “My son said that his officers told him to look the other way because it’s their culture.”

Lance Corporal Gregory Buckley Jr.
Lance Corporal Gregory Buckley Jr.

Ironically, Lance Corporal Buckley, the Marine who showed concern for these boys, was killed during an insider attack by one of these same boys.  The boy, who was the aide to an Afghan police commander, allegedly could no longer take the sexual abuse.  He loaded up and AK-47, walked into the base gym and shot Buckley in the chest and stomach.

The military’s policy of instructing soldiers and Marines to ignore the sexual of abuse by their Afghan allies is coming under scrutiny, but the policy towards its own members is not.

Last month, CSM Virgil Ebrecht, who was in charge of the U.S. Army’s Space Battalion at Fort Carson, plead guilty to ‘abusive sexual contact with a child.’  According to the UCMJ Article 120, this charge implies that the CSM engaged in sexual contact with a child of 12 or less years of age.

CSM Ebrecht was originally sentenced to 30 months confinement and reduction in rank to E-4, but given that he plead guilty, his sentenced was reduced to six months.

This sentence comes as a surprise considering the House of Representatives passed a measure to enforce a mandatory minimum sentence of two years imprisonment and dismissal or dishonorable discharge for service members convicted of Article 120 under UCMJ.

The Army entrusted the Sergeant Major to lead the only battalion that provided space support to the U.S.  Strategic Command.  He was in charge of 480 personnel that included soldiers, contractors, and Department of the Army civilians all around the world.  When he violated the UCMJ, in which he was trusted to enforce, he was practically given a slap on the wrist.

The specific circumstances surrounding CSM Ebrecht’s charges are not known, but his sentence is still reflective of the military’s current attitude towards child sexual abuse.

(SGM Virgil Brecht sends a holiday gretting back home in 2011)

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