Protect Our Defenders News Blog



During yesterday’s Senate Armed Services confirmation hearing, Gen. Hyten’s defenders call into question the validity of Col. Spletstoser’s statement based on zero factual evidence

Washington, DC – Last Friday, Army Colonel Kathryn A. Spletstoser publicly came forward accusing Air Force General John Hyten of sexual assault. Yesterday, the Senate Armed Service Committee held a confirmation hearing for Gen. Hyten, President Trump’s nominee for vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the second-highest-ranking position of the U.S. Armed Forces.

During the hearing, defenders of Gen. Hyten perpetuated an unfounded narrative to cast doubt on Col. Spletstoser’s account of events. While the Air Force investigation found “no evidence that the woman was lying,” former Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson contradicted the findings of the report, calling Gen. Hyten “falsely accused.” Sec. Wilson also suggested that Col. Spletstoser was “a wounded soldier who believes what she is saying is true, even if it is not.”

Sen. Martha McSally, who revealed earlier this year that she had been raped while serving in the Air Force, echoed Sec. Wilson’s unsubstantiated accusations, saying, “sexual assault happens in the military. It just didn’t happen in this case. I pray the accuser gets the help she needs and finds the peace she is searching for. But it cannot be by destroying Gen. Hyten with false allegations.” Sen. McSally previously described her experience in coming forward as a victim of military sexual assault as “the system was raping me all over again.”

Col. Don Christensen (ret.), the former Chief Prosecutor of the United State Air Force and President of Protect Our Defenders, released the following statement:

“Yesterday, Sen. McSally, and former Air Force Sec. Wilson, and others defending Hyten engaged in a smear campaign against Col. Spletstoser. They used her long-standing career serving our country as the basis to question her version of events based on zero factual evidence. Col. Spletstoser has completely refuted a number of things Gen. Hyten testified to, which should be followed up on by the Senate. The Senate should give Col. Spletstoser the opportunity to testify publicly.

“We heard the claim of a ‘lack of corroboration’ over and over without anyone specifying what that truly means. When people say that there is no ‘corroborating evidence,’ what they are saying is that there are no eyewitnesses or DNA evidence. Welcome to the world of prosecuting sexual assault. That’s true of almost every sex offense case. However, in Col. Spletstoser’s case, there was in fact corroboration in multiple ways. For example, both the alleged victim and Gen. Hyten were at the locations at the times she said they were.

“Most importantly, there is no legal requirement for corroboration to prosecute or convict someone. A person can be convicted by the testimony of a single witness. In fact, in many of the cases that move forward, there is no corroboration in the way that Gen. Hyten’s defenders are falsely claiming is somehow necessary.

“Furthermore, we have nothing to rely on other than the assertions made by the military and Gen. Hyten’s enablers to suggest that the investigation was thorough. We know it was unusually quick and Gen. Hyten’s interview was not conducted as they normally interrogate a suspect. Regardless, he was not cleared by it. That is not the way an Air Force investigation operates. Gen. Hyten was ‘cleared’ by a fellow general. Not the investigation.”

New York Times: ‘I Have a Moral Responsibility to Come Forward’: Colonel Accuses Top Military Nominee of Assault:

New York Times: Two Prominent Women Defend General Against Sexual Assault Claim:

AP: Exclusive: Officer Alleges Sexual Misconduct By General:

Washington Post: A Colonel Accused a Four-Star General of Sexual Assault. A Senate Panel will Decide What Happens Next:

CNN: Sen. McSally, a Rape Survivor, Calls Hyten Allegations ‘False’. His Accuser Says Hearing a ‘Spectacle:’

CNN: GOP Senator Reveals She was Sexually Assaulted When She Served in the Military:

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