Evidence Suggests Retaliatory and Wrongful Prosecution. U.S. Army Major & Head Prosecutor of Sexual Assault Cases at Fort Bragg North Carolina, Major Burris, Convicted of Sexual Assault in Courts Martial, Sentenced to 20 Years in Detention Barracks at Leavenworth.
In 2012 and 2013, U.S. Army Major Erik Burris, 39, was 82nd’s Airborne Chief of Justice (senior prosecutor) overseeing sexual assault cases at Fort Bragg North Carolina. He had a distinguished 16-year military career and served in Bosnia, Iraq, and Afghanistan.
Recently, Major Burris was removed from the Army, sentenced to 20 years in the stockade, and ordered to forfeit all pay after being convicted of rape, sodomy, related sexual assault charges and disobeying an order. Now, he sits in a cell stripped of his military service and branded a sex offender.
Major Burris has maintained his innocence. According to Fort Bragg Press, “The court-martial found Burris not guilty of four specifications of assault, two specifications of sexual assault, two specifications of forcible sodomy and two specifications of communicating a threat.
Prior to being charged, he testified in a sexual assault case for an Army Captain. According to an article in the Daily Mail(and others), during the trial, Major Burris revealed that as head J.A.G. Officer, he was pressured to pursue sexual assault cases even when “iffy”. “I know enough about what’s going on. If I wanted to, I could embarrass the 82nd,” he said in court.
Military Corruption and others reported that the female investigating officer, a Lieutenant Colonel, testified:
“My assessment is that Ms. Burris’ allegations . . . her statements to CID . . . were driven by a combination of motives. The evidence in the case file and testimony suggests she embellished or made untruthful and or inconsistent claims . . . her displays of emotion. . did not appear genuine . . . I am left with no other alternative but that Ms. Burris is fabricating her allegations.”
Sexual assault allegations began surfacing months after his ex-wife left him in 2012, when she battled for sole custody of their two daughters. During a FOX network interview, Major Burris said that after his wife left him, “she proceeded to make more and more allegations, each time she spoke to someone new – each time she was in a different environment, she was accusing me of something else, and generally those accusations just became more heinous as the process went on”. He thought, “[t]odays military is too quick to file charges on sex assault cases to compensate for years past when many weren’t…” He said he “was also concerned about those women who make valid complaints later on but have their allegations dismissed because of the number of false allegations.”
As reported by military’s website COURT-MARTIAL Trial Practice in the article Burris Trial, he “testified there was growing pressure to prosecute sex assault cases under his watch in 2012. The rule was, he said, given probable cause all cases should go to an Article 32 Hearing. If pending probable cause again, it will head to a court martial. According to Burris, there was a blanket directive to prosecute cases. “It was increasing and just having to deal with the burden of information handling on the cases was significant.” Burris admitted earlier expressing his “extreme displeasure” with how the Army was handling sex assault cases. Prosecutors pointed out that Burris faced similar allegations by his then wife. Consequently, in February 2013, a month before the FOX interview and just after his arraignment on charges, Major Burris was reassigned as an Operations Officer pending the outcome of the charges against him.
False allegations of sexual assault, domestic violence and child abuse are favored weapons in contentious divorce and child custody cases. False accusers are rarely held accountable, even after destroying careers and lives of decent people, like Major Burris perhaps.
In researching this story we found no information to suggest Mrs. Burris suffered from post-partum depression, post-partum psychosis, or whether she had a history of interpersonal violence coupled with a serious character disorder, any and all of which should have been determined prior to taking Major Burris to trial. Lying, sometimes habitually if not pathologically, is part of such disorders. Nor do we know whether Major Burris suffered from anything similar including but not limited to PTSD related to his overseas postings; or, his marriage for that matter. We have heard many times from soldiers that they felt safer at war than at home. All we know is that an independent investigator concluded Mrs. Burris’s allegations were false, that she lied.
Unusual here is the absence of the media, the reluctance of the Army to release information other than a terse press release, and the chief investigator, a female Lieutenant Colonel, finding that his estranged wife consistently lied. And, why did the Army only notify the media after court martial proceedings had ended?
What caused the major media from attending the trial? Was the Army concerned about the lack of clear and compelling evidence? Did the Army prosecute Major Burris because he was outspoken about pressure to pursue sexual assault cases with little or no merit, the “iffy” ones? Have we reached lynch mob mentality in the Army, where unsubstantiated accusations lead to court-martial, the destruction of careers, and ruination of decorated warriors? To our knowledge there was no – as in zero – evidence to corroborate Major Burris’ estranged wife’s allegations.
So why was he convicted and why did not the media cover such a scandalous case? The story has everything necessary for the cover of pulp magazines, the New York Times or the Women in Pink (a must watch video) to picket. Decorated Army officer prosecuting sex cases, allegations of sexual assault, rape, child abuse, pressure to prosecute… so where’s the media?
Another senior Army officer, Brig. Gen. Jeffrey A. Sinclair, recently faced court-martial for alleged forcible sodomy, adultery and other charges. His case was a considerable embarrassment to the Army. The Washington Post reported Sinclair’s “legal defense team mounted a vigorous public relations campaign for many months, running a Web site and a Twitter account to spread the message that he was a victim of politically motivated Army leaders intent on making an example of him.” Was his accuser used to make an example of General Sinclair? If she was sexually assaulted and terrified, then why did she continue an affair for three years? Eventually acquitted of assault charges, Sinclair pleaded guilty to having a lengthy affair with a subordinate officer. Maybe the subordinate officer was vindictive because Sinclair promised to divorce his wife and marry her. I reported more about the Sinclair case on our NCFM website here: Brigadier GeneralJeffrey Sinclair Courts Martial Drama Now…
Has the military reached the same level of witch-hunt hysteria we now see on college campuses? Are we in such an irrational state about the nonexistent rape culture and sexual assault epidemic that some cases and military leaders are willing to railroad anyone, regardless of rank to create the appearance that the military is cracking down on sexual assault cases?
All military branches are under onerous political pressure to uproot and destroy all types of sexual assault and harassment. To sell their politically correct directives, Legislators like Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., has used her position as a bully pulpit to spread misinformation about the number of real sexual assault and harassment cases, which in reality are comparatively few. The Navy has even banned racy photos, no more pinups on deployments.
Last year, the Pentagon vigorously fought efforts by Sen. Gillibrand to take the decision to prosecute cases away from commanding officers. Sen. Gillibrand and her supporters believe the military justice system is an old-boys club, one that protects its’ members. She wants a new-feminist club that gives weight to unsubstantiated charges. Justice does not seem relevant.
The old-boys club sacrificed Burris under the political pressure. Moreover, the brass fed Gen. Sinclair to Sen. Gillibrand. One has to wonder whether the military is fattening up more heroes for slaughter. Maybe outside intervention would have been more concerned with truth than politics.
Who knows, but if we find out for sure, we will let you know. We are certain there will be more and more persecutions of military men in favor of unsubstantiated allegations. In PC parlance, men are perpetrators, women are victims, women do not lie…
Then there is the Army’s “transitional benefits” for victims of abuse (real or imagined), like the continuation of medical care, exchange privileges and commissary privileges – the travel, transportation, and relocation allowances, and thousands of dollars a month compensation for up to 32 months, including the housing allowance – free rent? The children may even be eligible for whatever Veteran benefits remain, if any. Big money. No fear of repercussions. Lying pays. Think about it… Murders happen for less.