Retired Admiral Says Politics Made Him Convict A Navy SEAL Of Sexual Assault

Navy photo by Krishna M. Jackson

Now-retired Rear Adm. Patrick Lorge has accused U.S. Navy legal corps officials of letting politics and public relations concerns dictate the outcome of a case where a decorated Navy SEAL was charged with sexual assault in 2014, according to the Washington Times.

In an affidavit submitted to an appeals court  May 5, Lorge claimed that the judge advocate general of the Navy exerted unlawful command influence by attempting to convince him not to exonerate the sailor because it would tarnish the Navy’s image.

Lorge was the convening authority tasked with reviewing the court martial of  Senior Chief Special Warfare Operator Keith Barry, who, in 2014, was convicted sexual assault and rape and sentenced to three years in jail, Navy Times reported.

“I did not find that the Government proved the allegation against Senior Chief Barry beyond a reasonable doubt,” Lorge wrote in the affidavit.

Barry’s lawyers believe Lorge’s affidavit could be enough to appeal his case.Barry previously alleged that the woman who accused him of sexual assault “talked about getting back together after the sexual encounter in a hotel room on the base,” according to Navy Times, and only leveled her charges after speaking with friends. He says that she began accusing him of sexual assault and rape after speaking with friends.

Lorge is now alleging that the Navy’s interest in protecting its image by being proactive in sexual misconduct cases was prioritized over the facts of the case. And the pressures, he says, came from as high as the White House.

“At the time, the political climate regarding sexual assault in the military was such that a decision to disapprove the findings, regardless of merit, would bring hate and discontent on the Navy from the President, as well as senators including Senator Kirstin Gillibrand,” Lorge says in the affidavit. “Absent the pressures described [in my affidavit], I would have disapproved the findings in this case,” he adds.

Lorge claims he was made to believe that finding the evidence in Barry’s case insufficient to convict him would lead to “the perception that military leaders were sweeping sexual assaults under the rug,” according to his affidavit

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces will decide whether or not it will select a special master to look into the case, but Barry’s lawyers believe Lorge's affidavit can serve as grounds for dismissing his conviction.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs paid $13,000 over a three-month period for a senior official's biweekly commute to Washington from his home in California, according to expense reports obtained by ProPublica.

Read More Show Less
Saturday Night Live/screenshot

President Donald Trump said that "retribution" should be "looked into" after this week's opening skit of Saturday Night Live featured Alec Baldwin being mean to him again.

Read More Show Less
Staff Sgt. John Eller conducts pre-flights check on his C-17 Globemaster III Jan. 3 prior to taking off from Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii for a local area training mission. Sgt. Eller is a loadmaster from the 535th Airlift Squadron. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Shane A. Cuomo)

CUCUTA, Colombia — The Trump administration ratcheted up pressure Saturday on beleaguered Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, dispatching U.S. military planes filled with humanitarian aid to this city on the Venezuelan border.

Read More Show Less
U.S. Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan speaks at the annual Munich Security Conference in Munich, Germany February 15, 2019. REUTERS/Andreas Gebert

ABOARD A U.S. MILITARY AIRCRAFT (Reuters) - Acting U.S. Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan said on Saturday he had not yet determined whether a border wall with Mexico was a military necessity or how much Pentagon money would be used.

President Donald Trump on Friday declared a national emergency in a bid to fund his promised wall at the U.S.-Mexico border without congressional approval.

Read More Show Less
A pair of U.S. Navy Grumman F-14A Tomcat aircraft from Fighter Squadron VF-211 Fighting Checkmates in flight over Iraq in 2003/Department of Defense

Since the sequel to the 1986 action flick (and wildly successful Navy recruitment tool) Top Gun, was announced, there's been a lot of speculation on what Top Gun: Maverick will be about when it premieres in June 2020. While the plot is still relatively unclear, we know Tom Cruise will reprise his role as Naval aviator Pete "Maverick" Mitchell, and he'll be joined by a recognizable costar: The iconic F-14 Tomcat.

It looks like the old war plane will be coming out of retirement for more than just a cameo. A number of recently surfaced photos show an F-14 Tomcat aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt, alongside Cruise and members of the film's production crew, the Drive's Tyler Rogoway first reported earlier this week.

Read More Show Less