Army Special Forces colonel charged with five counts of sexual assault

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Col. Kevin Russell

Col. Kevin M. Russell

An Army Special Forces colonel has been charged with five counts of sexual assault.

Col. Kevin M. Russell faces five counts of violating Article 120 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, according to Army court records. 

Russell has been accused of "sexual assault and abusive sexual contact," said Elise Van Pool, a U.S. Army Special Operations Command spokeswoman. 

Russell's court-martial will begin on Aug. 25 at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. He is currently assigned to U.S. Special Operations Command.

Van Pool declined to provide a charge sheet or offer further details on the nature of the charges. 

"As with any criminal allegation, Col. Russell is presumed innocent until proven guilty at court-martial," Van Pool said.

Russell's civilian attorney, Michael Waddington, declined to comment. 

Russell is an Army special forces officer, according to a 2018 press release announcing his taking command of U.S. Southern Command's Joint Task Force-Bravo which focuses on "counter transnational organized crime, humanitarian assistance/disaster relief, and defense institution building to promote regional cooperation and security in Central America." 

According to the press release, Russell had previously served as the Special Operations Command Central (SOCCENT) Theater Liaison Element Team Chief to U.S. Central Command.

Col. Amanda Azubuike, a spokesperson at SOUTHCOM, told Task & Purpose that Russell "departed SOUTHCOM a year ago." 

Russell's career spans decades, according to an official Army biography. In 1992, he commissioned into the Army as an engineering officer and was later assigned to the 2nd Infantry Division, 82nd Airborne Division, and 7th Special Forces Group. 

Russell has deployed "numerous" times in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom, according to his bio.

His awards include four Bronze Stars, two Meritorious Service Medals, four Army Commendation Medals.