So, here’s the scoop. Lawyers representing former patients of a military doctor, Maj. Michael Stockin, just filed five new complaints against the Army and the Defense Department. They’re claiming the Army didn’t shield them from abuse, adding more heat to the ongoing sexual assault case.
Accusations and Court Drama
This doctor, Stockin, is in some deep water. He’s accused of improper touching by at least 39 people. But he’s shouting his innocence from the rooftops.
His defense team called it quits on a preliminary hearing, calling the whole case a “witch hunt.” They said the prosecutors were hiding info about three more accusers, aiming to surprise Stockin.
Five of the accusers, who are Stockin’s former patients, spilled the beans to CBS News. They say Stockin would get them to undress and then mess around in an inappropriate manner during appointments at the pain management clinic. It was a similar story for all of them.
Preliminary Hearing Buzz
This hearing, called the Article 32, got nixed by Stockin’s defense team because the alleged victims didn’t want to spill the beans during it. Stockin’s lawyer said the government wanted to play dirty by hiding witnesses and info.
Why No Testimony?
It’s a rarity for victims to testify at these early hearings. Instead, they usually spill the beans during the actual trial. Some say this could avoid mixed-up stories under oath, but others think it’s a missed chance to put Stockin in the hot seat.
Scrutiny and Changes
The whole system’s been catching flak lately. Some cases went to trial even after the preliminary hearing found no reason to, and many ended in acquittals. A report even said these hearings didn’t really filter out the bad cases from going to trial.
More Trouble Brewing
Stockin’s not off the hook just yet. He’s facing charges of abusive sexual contact and indecent viewing. And here’s the kicker: 17 more accusers got added to the list just last month. Experts reckon more could come out of the woodwork as the investigation keeps rolling.
Military Justice Shake-Up
There’s some new action on the horizon too. President Biden put pen to paper on an order that shakes up the way the military handles serious crimes. Now, specialized independent military prosecutors will take charge instead of commanders in cases like sexual violence.
Hold on, there’s more. Seven of Stockin’s ex-patients, represented by lawyer Christine Dunn, aren’t stopping there. They’ve slapped the Army with federal civil complaints. These complaints claim the Army messed up big time by not watching Stockin closer, allowing the abuse to happen.
The victims claim they’ve been deeply hurt, and they’re pointing fingers at the Army, saying they could’ve stopped this mess. But here’s the deal: normally, military folks can’t sue their own, but this time, it might just fly thanks to a recent court ruling.
So, that’s where things stand for now. Stockin’s hanging in limbo while the Army sorts out this whole ordeal.