January 13, 2020
Washington, DC – Today, Protect Our Defenders (POD) joined rape survivor and Air Force veteran Harmony Allen in filing an amicus curia brief before the United States Supreme Court. The brief concurs with the Solicitor General that the U.S Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces’ (CAAF) recent ruling that overturned decades of precedent firmly establishing there was not a statute of limitations for rape in the military is unjust and reprehensible.
In November 2019, the Supreme Court announced that it would hear an appeal from the Justice Department to review a military court decision that led to multiple rape convictions being overturned based on a new holding concerning the statute of limitations in the military. For thirty-two years, military courts operated under no time constraint for the prosecution of rape, until the CAAF reversed longstanding precedent with US v. Mangahas in 2018. The CAAF ruling thwarted clear Congressional intent by finding that rapes committed before 2006 are subject to a five year statute of limitations.
Harmony Allen is one of three survivors whose rapist was freed by the CAAF’s highly flawed ruling who has successfully had her case brought before the Supreme Court. POD found a pro bono attorney to write the amicus brief for Harmony and paid all costs associated with filing the brief. POD has been fighting alongside Harmony to ensure CAAF’s freeing of her rapist is reversed by the Supreme Court.
Harmony Allen, Air Force veteran and military sexual assault survivor, released the following statement:
“I will be forever grateful to Protect Our Defenders for their support of me in my efforts to ensure my rapist is held accountable. It was a devastating blow to have the military appeals court free my rapist by ignoring the law and congressional intent. I have been committed to bringing this case to the Supreme Court ever since my rapist was set free.
“With the untiring effort of Protect Our Defenders, my congressman, Representative Brian Mast and my pro bono attorney, Mr. Peter Coote, I and other survivors are on a course for victory. I also want to thank the dedicated Air Force prosecutors and appellate counsel who have stood by me.”
Col. Don Christensen (ret.), the former Chief Prosecutor of the United State Air Force and President of Protect Our Defenders, released the following statement:
“Dozens of rapists have been freed or had pending charges dismissed because of this improper ruling. It is unconscionable that those who came bravely forward and finally received justice have had it ripped away from them by this highly flawed ruling.
“Protect Our Defenders stands with these survivors in asking the Supreme Court to overturn this appalling decision and restore justice to the victims whose rapists were properly convicted at court-martial.”
CNN: Her rapist was convicted and jailed by a military court. Two years later, he was freed.: https://www.cnn.com/2019/05/14/politics/harmony-allen-military-sexual-assault/index.html
CNN: Supreme Court to take up military rape cases: https://www.cnn.com/2019/11/15/politics/supreme-court-military-rape-case/index.html
United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces: US v. Mangahas: http://cdn.cnn.com/cnn/2019/images/07/29/mangahas.opinion.pdf
CNN: ‘I truly believe that he would have killed me.’ Why three women did not report their military rapists before time ran out: https://www.cnn.com/2019/10/07/politics/us-military-sexual-assault-interviews/index.html