Protect Our Defenders News Blog


***STATEMENT*** Army Doctor with Over 100 Victims in Historic Military Sexual Assault Scandal Faces Hearing to Determine Charges

November 2, 2023
Army Doctor with Over 100 Victims in Historic Military Sexual Assault Scandal Faces Hearing to Determine Charges

Army failed to follow up with alleged victims to provide support; survivors pursue pro bono legal support via POD Legal Services Program

Washington, DC – On November 9, Major Michael D. Stockin – an Army doctor accused of sexually assaulting multiple servicemembers who were his patients – faces an Article 32 hearing at Joint Base Lewis McChord in Washington. The Article 32 hearing will evaluate whether there is probable cause that Stockin violated the Uniform Code of Military Justice and whether he will be tried by court-martial. Some survivors also are pursuing a civilian lawsuit against the US government. In what is the largest military sexual assault scandal in recent history, the Army has failed to follow up with alleged victims, leaving survivors without legal assistance or care. Survivors have turned to Protect Our Defenders (POD) Legal Services Program in their pursuit of justice.

Earlier this year President Biden signed an executive order implementing the most transformative military justice reform. However, it is nearly impossible for survivors to sue the military, and survivors still cannot seek damages as sexual assault and harassment are considered by the Military as “incidence of service” under the Feres Doctrine. Last year, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of Colonel Kathryn Spletstoser’s civil suit against former Air Force General John Hyten – aided by POD’s amicus brief filing on behalf of Spletstoser and opening the door for critical reforms to support servicemembers’ pursuit of justice.

Across the service branches, an estimated 1.5 percent of all male servicemembers have experienced unwanted sexual contact. Given that only a fraction of male servicemembers report military sexual trauma, it is likely that Stockin’s victims number in the hundreds. If you are a survivor in the case involving Major Michael D. Stockin and are seeking pro bono legal support, please find more information about POD’s Legal Services Program here.

The Article 32 hearing is open to the public and media. Details below:

  • Who: Ryan Guilds, legal representation for the survivors in connection with the criminal investigation and prosecution; Christine Dunn, attorney representing survivors in a civil suit; Protect Our Defenders
  • What: Article 32 hearing in charges filed against Army Major Dr. Michael D. Stockin
  • When: 10:00 a.m. PST, Thursday, November 9, 2023
  • Where: Joint Base Lewis McChord, Washington (253-967-0148)

Protect Our Defenders Senior Vice President, Josh Connolly, former Chief of Staff for Rep. Jackie Speier (former Chairwoman of the Military Personnel Subcommittee on the House Armed Services Committee), released the following statement:

“This is the largest military sexual assault scandal in recent history, therefore the scale of and perpetuation of these assaults cannot be understated. The Article 32 hearing is a critical first step in the pursuit of justice for the survivors who have been impacted.

“The Army’s unprecedented stonewalling and complete lack of adequate follow up with alleged victims in this case is unacceptable. We know that there are survivors who have bravely come forward to share their stories, only to receive no offer of support for the Army or insight into how the Army might be proceeding with the information provided. The Army must commit to being more transparent and treating all survivors with dignity and respect. We know that military sexual assault is underreported – especially by male survivors – and the Army has done absolutely nothing to instill confidence in those who may have been grievously harmed by Stockin.

“Stockin must be held accountable. Army leadership must answer for how and why Stockin’s abuse was allowed to continue. We urge the Pentagon to take this case seriously, as well as support and embolden male survivors seeking justice and are reaching out for help. We cannot let history repeat itself by silencing survivors.

“We urge Congress to codify major reforms to the Feres Doctrine so that servicemembers are afforded the basic right to sue their employer in cases of sexual misconduct in their workplace.”