Once a marine, always a marine. A proud saying that bears repeating.
Once a retired officer, always an officer. Retired officers are only receiving lower compensation. They are still on the payroll. They can be brought back to active duty for disciplinary action. A retired officer can be punished by court-martial.
Former Cadet Alexander Arthur Stevens, U S Coast Guard Academy, was found dead not wearing any clothing on January 4, 2017 in the forested mountains of western Maryland shortly after a female companion walked out of the woods, suffering from hypothermia, authorities said. His naked body showed signs of trauma, according to police.
Stevens is a former U.S. Coast Guard Academy cadet who was booted from the academy in 2014 following an alleged sexual-assault investigation.
Following the disciplinary action by the Superintendent at the Academy, Alexander Stevens went home to Frostburg and enrolled at Frostburg State University, university spokeswoman Elizabeth Medcalf said. He attended last fall, majoring in engineering, but had not enrolled for the spring semester, she said.
Stevens and a female companion were last seen together around 5 p.m. January 3 near a Savage River State Forest trail-head near the rural community of Barton, about 140 west of Baltimore, Maryland Natural Resources Police spokeswoman Candy Thomson said. A search was launched at about 3 a.m. January 4 in response to a 911 call reporting them missing.
The female walked out of the woods to a house shortly before 9 a.m., and emergency responders were called. A Maryland State Police helicopter crew spotted Stevens’ body shortly thereafter on private property adjacent to the 54,000-acre state forest.
His body showed signs of undisclosed trauma. Cadet Stevens was found near Pine Swamp Road, which is crossed by the Big Savage Mountain hiking trail. The trail there follows a logging road through steep, rocky terrain, according to the website of Garrett Trails, a nonprofit group that promotes hiking in Garrett County.
The night was relatively mild, with overnight lows in nearby Frostburg and Cumberland never dropping below 40 F degrees. Live traffic cameras operated by the Maryland Department of Transportation show little snow cover remaining along Interstate 68 after a storm 4 days prior covered the region with up to 6 inches.
The investigation was conducted by the Maryland State Police Criminal Enforcement Division and the State Police Homicide Unit. Assistance was provided by the Allegany County Combined Criminal Investigations Unit (C3I) and Natural Resources Police. Limited information has been provided by state police investigators.
The relationship between Stevens and the female has been reported as “boyfriend, girlfriend.” The woman, believed to be in her 20s, reportedly cooperated with investigators throughout the investigation. In a 911 call, she reportedly told emergency workers that Cadet Stevens had fallen off a cliff.
According to Elena Russo, state police spokesman at Pikesville, “We are still waiting for toxicology reports”.
(Cadet Alexander Stevens, above right)
Cadet Alexander Stevens was a cadet at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy (USCGA). He was a native of the Frostburg, MD area. In high school he was active in plays and musicals, having a fine baritone voice. He was a member of the Concert choir. He was the Pirate King in the Pirates of Penzance. He played Sky Masterson in Guys and Dolls. He was a member of Concert band, Jazz Orchestra, and Marching band all four years of high school. He was a natural for the Coast Guard Academy Glee Club.
He participated in football, basketball, cross-country and track & field.
He attended the Cambridge University in England Summer Program for high school students.
The American Legion selected him as their representative to Maryland Boys State.
He was a Boy Scout and Senior Patrol Leader, achieving the rank of Eagle Scout.
He was a World Traveler, traveling widely through Western Europe and Korea.
He loved the great outdoors, and was an avid camper.
He loved to stargaze, rock climb, and hike.
He had a great sense of humor and he loved animals.
He was an all around nice guy. He was meek and lowly.
He was the main speaker at his high school graduation, giving the Senior Address.
He was accused at the Coast Guard Academy of breaking into the room of a female cadet of lower rank in Chase Hall and sexually abusing her.
The Coast Guard prosecutor, Lt. Tyler McGill, alleged that Cadet Stevens was on a mission for sexual gratification that September night. The room Stevens entered was about 300 feet from his girlfriend’s room.
“Cadet Stevens did not walk into the room right next door,” McGill said.
Lt. John Cole, Cadet Stevens’ Assigned Military Defense Counsel, said the government didn’t prove sexual intent. He claimed Stevens was drunk at the time and made a mental mistake.
“Just because he accidentally touched the wrong cadet’s leg doesn’t mean he should go to court martial,” Cole said.
Cole argued that Stevens should face administrative punishment, which can include expulsion. Administrative punishment is not criminal in nature. Non-judicial punishment (NJP) under Article 15 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) is the lowest form of criminal proceeding available to the military. Above NJP there are three levels of courts-martial. They are a Summary, a Special and a General Court-matial. They differ in the maximum amount of punishment they can award to a convicted member. A court martial is a Federal Criminal Trial and can lead to prison time if the person is convicted.
The Article 32 pretrial investigation is similar to a civilian grand jury. It is used to determine whether there is enough evidence to refer the case to a court-martial.
A hearing in the form of an Article 32 Investigation was held Wednesday April 2nd at the Coast Guard Academy. The Article 32 Investigating Officer (IO) has not yet made a recommendation. The IO could recommend that the case be dismissed, dealt with administratively or referred for trial by court-martial.
Usually the accused usually does not testify at an Article 32 Hearing.
Most smart Defense Counsels do not let their clients testify at an Article 32 Hearing. They use that opportunity to discover the Government’s case. They get a chance to see how much evidence the Government has and how strong it is.
Cadet Stevens, who was accused of abusive sexual contact, housebreaking and unlawful entry, did not testify.
The Testimony was weak.
The female complaining witness testified that a man entered her room in the middle of the night, touched her on her thigh and moved his hand up her leg before she screamed and kicked him.
“I remember someone fumbling with my blanket that was on top of me and touching my leg,” she said, describing skin-to-skin contact and the swirling motion of a hand moving up her leg. “I kicked my legs and I screamed.”
The man either fell or jumped off her bed and fled. She says she chased him and located a friend.
“I kept telling him (the friend) that’s not right,” she said, noting that she was shaking and crying.
The cadet said she found it hard to sleep and concentrate after the encounter, and her grades suffered.
“I think he should be kicked out of the Coast Guard. I think he should be a registered sex offender, and I think he should go to jail,” she said.
Cadet Stevens’ explanation Was credible and exculpatory.
Stevens said in an interview that he went into the fellow cadet’s room and touched her with his hand, said Eric Gempp, a special agent with the Coast Guard Investigative Service (CGIS). Stevens said he was startled when the cadet said, “Hey!” He quickly left the room, Stevens told investigators.
Stevens said he went into the room by mistake, believing it was his girlfriend’s room, Gempp testified.
Defense Counsel was able to get the accused’s statements into the record without him taking the witness stand.
Chief Robert Cain testified that Stevens voluntarily came to him and told him during a night of drinking he got into an argument with his girlfriend. Cain said Stevens told him after returning to his room that he decided to apologize and went to what he thought was his girlfriend’s room, tapped her on the leg and realized he was in the wrong room.
Another cadet testified that classmates often go into the wrong rooms, but said the mistake typically involves going into a room one or two doors away.
The only cadet ever court-martialed at the academy, Webster Smith, was tried in 2006 at a General Court-martial and convicted on extortion, sodomy and indecent assault charges.
(The Webster Smith Case was appealed all the way to the U. S. Supreme Court. It is fully documented in a book entitled “Conduct Unbecoming An Officer and a Lady” available on Amazon.com http://www.amazon.com/CONDUCT-UNBECOMING-Officer-Lady-Conviction/dp/1460978021 )
The Article 32 investigating officer (IO) in this case could recommend that the alleged offenses be dismissed, dealt with administratively, or referred for trial by court-martial.