April 11, 2013, - 3:44 pm

In Defense of Lt. Gen. Craig Franklin: Pro-Israel Airman Defamed for Moral Courage in Dismissing Shaky Rape Conviction

By Debbie Schlussel

An Air Force General sacrifices his career and his reputation to do the right thing, and he’s pilloried for it. In rape allegations, we’re supposed to take the complaining female’s word for it and not question a thing. Especially when the woman is in the military, where feminists have wreaked much damage, and they want to wreak more (such as having us think that all male personnel are rapists in waiting).

craigfranklinisrael

Lt. Gen. Craig Franklin w/ Israeli Brig. Gen. Shahar Shohat

For the past couple of months, Air Force Lt. General Craig Franklin has been under attack from the media, from Congress, from feminists, and from everybody else for overturning a rape conviction (technically, aggravated sexual assault) against Lt. Col. James Wilkerson. Wilkerson was convicted in a November court martial of sexually assaulting a female officer. In civilian trials, a judge often has the power to issue a judgment notwithstanding the jury’s verdict. And in the military, commanders have the final say. It’s a vital part of the system of military justice. Lt. Gen. Franklin could have taken the easy way out and rubber-stamped the guilty verdict against Wilkerson. Instead, he did the right thing and listened to his conscience. He didn’t believe the alleged victim and her constantly changing story of the alleged rape. So, in February, he dismissed the conviction.

Since then, there have been Congressional hearings against him, media witch-hunts and savaging of his reputation, and everything else that comes with going against the conventional feminist tide in the military. It cost Franklin a promotion, and his military career is likely static until he retires, something he probably predicted. He clearly didn’t do this lightly. He’s a good man who had the courage and integrity to do what most would not. Predictably, Defense Secretary Chuck “Bleep the Jewish Lobby” Hagel has re-opened the case, when he should be recognizing Lt. Gen. Franklin’s guts and principles. Which man would you want by your side on the battlefield? And I wonder if Lt. Gen. Franklin’s history of being pro-Israel and working with Israeli generals has anything to do with the savaging of his good name. Don’t bet against it.

An Air Force general who dismissed a sexual-assault conviction against an officer said he didn’t find the alleged victim’s statement credible, in the most thorough explanation of his decision in a case that has raised controversy on Capitol Hill. In a six-page letter, Lt. Gen. Craig Franklin said he dismissed the aggravated sexual-assault conviction against Lt. Col. James Wilkerson in February after an extensive review of court records and evidence. Lt. Col. Wilkerson was originally convicted in a military court-martial in November.

“It would have been exceedingly less volatile for the Air Force and for me professionally, to have simply approved the finding of guilty,” Lt. Gen. Franklin wrote. “This would have been an act of cowardice on my part and a breach of my integrity.”


The case has prompted the Pentagon to recommend revising the provisions of the Uniform Code of Military Justice to strip commanders of the ability to vacate military-court convictions, although they would still be allowed to commute sentences. Frank Spinner, a lawyer for Lt. Col. Wilkerson, said Lt. Gen. Franklin was doing his job of ensuring due process. “Anyone who reads the record of trial will see the complaining witness was not credible,” Mr. Spinner said. “The government failed to prove their case.”

Defense officials said Lt. Gen. Franklin’s decision to dismiss the conviction has likely eliminated any chance of promotion and has made it difficult for him to get other military jobs, as appointments of all senior generals must be approved by the Senate. Several members of the Senate Armed Services Committee have criticized his actions. . . .

Lt. Col. Wilkerson was accused of assaulting the woman while she slept in a guest room in his home after a party. In the letter, Lt. Gen. Franklin outlined why he found the account of Lt. Col Wilkerson and his wife more credible than the victim’s statement. He said that the victim’s description of the events leading up to the assault varied and she wasn’t able to identify the room in which the alleged assault took place.

Lt. Gen. Franklin said he found the version of events presented by prosecutors “incongruent” with the fact that Lt. Col. Wilkerson was selected for promotion and was “described as a doting father and husband.” “When I considered all the evidence together in total, the evidence was not sufficient to prove this alleged version by the prosecution beyond a reasonable doubt,” Lt. Gen. Franklin said.

More:

Franklin’s memo lists 18 points that led to his decision to overturn the guilty verdict, saying he struggled with the difficult case and spent three weeks reviewing tapes, testimony and dozens of letters submitted in support of Wilkerson. In the end, he said, “I could not in good conscience let stand the finding of guilty.” Among the problems he found with the verdict, Franklin said:

* The victim turned down three offers of a ride and seemed to have differing reasons why she wanted to stay

* The victim had trouble identifying and describing parts of the house, didn’t remember the attacker’s mustache and didn’t correctly describe her path out of the house

* Wilkerson’s wife’s account of the events differed in some details from her husband’s, but Franklin said the conflicts suggested that the two didn’t collude on a manufactured story.

* Testimony from the friend who took the alleged victim to the hospital the next day was not admissible in court, but Franklin said it indicated there could be a reason the woman might be less than candid.

We are privileged to have a few good men like Lt. Gen. Franklin spending their careers in the service of our country. Sadly, when they do the right thing–when they exercise the powers granted to them and exert moral courage–they are torn apart. If only we attacked the O.J. Simpson and Casey Anthony juries this much. Instead, Missouri Democrat Senator Claire McAskill, who has been on a witch hunt and crusade against Franklin, asked the Pentagon to fire him, undermining the military justice system. Bob McCarty has more.

A friend of mine who was in the Air Force for decades recently retired instead of staying in to reach a higher rank. He said he no longer wanted to deal with the political correctness that has taken over the U.S. Armed Forces. The attacks on Lt. Gen. Franklin is exactly the kind of stuff he was talking about.

Forget legitimate opposition research by Sen. Mitch McConnell into Ashley Judd’s publicly available wacko views. What’s happening to Lt. Gen. Franklin is the real politics of personal destruction. It’s yet another sign of a weak and ever-weakening America, with a military in the same shape to boot.

This is how we treat those who serve our country with decency and honor. Sadly, it’s par for the course these days.

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40 Responses

I am also disturbed that a military tribunal could have found this man guilty given the reasons Lt. General Craig Franklin gave for overturning the verdict.

Either they were morons (Don’t they have to be officers?) or they let a feminist PC ideology cloud their judgement.

I_AM_ME on April 11, 2013 at 4:19 pm

    I AM,

    That’s why judges have this check to overturn a jury verdict. A jury is not always right and sometimes the jury doesn’t reach the correct result.

    In that case, the judge may quash its verdict. We don’t want to have a runaway jury send innocent people to prison on the basis of flawed evidence.

    It should be added none of Lt. Franklin’s critics looked at all the evidence as hard he did. They’re simply unhappy he wasn’t politically correct in a military rape case and a woman is not always believable versus a man. That’s just a fact of life. Not all women are victims and not all men are sexual predators waiting to assault a woman.

    NormanF on April 11, 2013 at 5:18 pm

The media and government interest in the Wilkerson case is mainly about changing Article 60. The fact that Lt. General Craig Franklin supports Israel is the icing on the leftist cake.

As Islam-firster, Hagel put it, “First, eliminating the discretion for a [commander] to change the findings of a court-martial, except for certain minor offenses.” “Second, requiring the [commander] to explain in writing any changes made to court-martial sentences … to justify – in an open, transparent and recorded manner – any decision to modify a court-martial sentence.” Hagel says that the proposed changes to Article 60 have the “full support” of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the heads of each of the major arms of the U.S. military.

Several legislative proposals to tweak Article 60 are already underway.

Ralph Adamo on April 11, 2013 at 4:19 pm

    Ralph,

    Taking away a judge’s discretion to do what is right will send innocent people to prison.

    But the judge’s critics don’t care about that – they have an anti-male agenda and men in rape cases in their eyes are presumed guilty until proven innocent.

    So we’ll have drumhead tribunals after Art. 60 gets eviscerated. That’s how frightening the howling mob thirsting after people’s blood can be. We have seen it many times before and we will see it again in the future.

    NormanF on April 11, 2013 at 5:23 pm

The phenomenon of female soldiers claiming rape upon being caught in the act of or after sex with another soldier was so common that it was taught to (male) recruits in basic training to be wary of it. This was way back in ’78, so I don’t know if they still teach it to recruits, but they probably should.

DS_ROCKS! on April 11, 2013 at 4:25 pm

    Its obvious – a man should not fraternize or have relationships outside of what is required to deal officially with a woman serviceman or officer.

    If you want to avoid being accused of rape, it helps to have witnesses around.

    NormanF on April 11, 2013 at 5:26 pm

OK, so these women want to be placed in combat situations against our enemies, but they have a hissy and cry rape because they can’t defend themselves in the guest room of somebody’s home??? Give me a break! I’m not saying that rape isn’t rape, but why isn’t the complainant identified in all of this? I guarantee, if somebody snuck up on my Green Beret hubby while he was sleeping, they wouldn’t live to do it again.

As for the 3-star whose career is going to be sidelined by all of this, I just hope he has his 30 years in. As for the court martial team, frankly they are probably all officers who still want to get promoted. And going against the PC crowd is NOT the road to promotion in Obama’s military. the CinC sets the tone, and the Obama tone is to cave to whatever the flavor of the day is.

DG in GA on April 11, 2013 at 4:41 pm

    He’ll probably put in his retirement papers. He knew that once he ruled the way he did, he would be hung out to dry.

    As I said, not many people would put themselves on the line to help someone who is not popular. Doing that took guts and courage.

    Its another example as Debbie would put it, of why America is a dying nation. People like him should get a medal and a promotion.

    But that’s not what America is about any longer.

    NormanF on April 11, 2013 at 5:30 pm

Lt. Gen. Craig Franklin is the kind of man I would want for my commanding officer – someone decent, fair and honorable.

But we can’t have people with those qualities in the Armed Services. So he loses his career for doing the right thing? Not many people would have kept an innocent man from going to prison on the basis of very thin evidence and they would have opted instead to preserve their viability for the career path.

There are very few people who have my respect and Lt. Gen. Franklin is one of them and he didn’t deserve to be attacked for doing what a judge does – properly acting to set aside a jury verdict when it is not supported by the facts.

Justice must be governed by the particular circumstances of the case. Otherwise its simply mob justice – which is what the feminists and their politically correct supporters in the military and Congress wanted.

Lt. Col. James Wilkerson got his unjust conviction vacated because his superior refused to cave into politically correct pressure to railroad him. I hope one day I have someone like Lt. Gen. Franklin at my side if I’m ever convicted of something I didn’t do.

May G-d bless him!

NormanF on April 11, 2013 at 5:11 pm

Can only commend Lt. Gen. Craig Franklin for not doing the Atlas shrugged thing. If we all do that the world falls.
It’s a rough story but it gives me hope.

Frankz on April 11, 2013 at 5:18 pm

The Talmud tells us the reason the world endures is for the sake of the righteous in it.

36 of them are said to exist and none of them know their true identity or what G-d has asked them to do.

Whoever they are, they give us hope.

NormanF on April 11, 2013 at 5:34 pm

That’s very inspiring Norman.

Frankz on April 11, 2013 at 6:37 pm

A TV show called “The Touch” is loosely based on the Jewish legend.

The truly righteous person is like a diamond in the rough. And if he boasts of his goodness, he isn’t really one of those who keep the world in existence.

The goodness of the human soul is known only to G-d.

NormanF on April 11, 2013 at 7:21 pm

I think the world exists only so long as people study Torah. If Torah study were to end the world would disappear. Also Debbie the dude should have let the verdict stand. All the letters about how great the defendant was and his promotion and his wife’s bullshit story I don’t find so convincing. Lots of sexual assault cases are coin flippers and this one’s no different. Finally Debbie you are welcome for the handsome picture of H. that I sent you. No need to thank me.

A1 on April 11, 2013 at 9:31 pm

    Your foul language in a decent blog is a telling identifier of an unclean spirit inhabiting the mind of a fool, . . . “A1″ is therefore, misleading, . . .

    PhillipGaley on April 12, 2013 at 6:14 pm

He is screwed. He used “Integrity” in describing part of why he did what he did. Senators don’t like looking up what words mean to find out what he was talking about.

ender on April 11, 2013 at 9:49 pm

    Ender,

    Its called “noblesse oblige” – the sense we inherited from the medieval world and from Christian culture that a superior person is expected to give something back to those beneath him in exchange for their loyalty.

    Apparently, setting an honorable example is simply asking too much these days and I don’t think very highly of people who need to look up the word “integrity” in a dictionary like the meaning is a foreign one to them. We could all use more people like Lt. Gen. Franklin in this world.

    Sadly, with the way things are in this country now, the loss of such a fine man is in truth our loss as a nation.

    NormanF on April 12, 2013 at 12:51 am

@A1
Why do I get the feeling you wouldn’t mind that at all?

Coin tosses are for soccer matches dude. Sheesh, what are they teaching you in that Torah study group? How to pretend to be Jewish with a point of view?
You didn’t study under Gilles Bernheim did you?

http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/yoris-news-clips/french-chief-rabbi-wont-resign-after-stealing-stuff/2013/04/10/

H. isn’t who I think it is, is it?

Frankz on April 11, 2013 at 10:10 pm

    Plagiarism is a form of a theft.

    A rabbi who steals someone else’s hard work does the world a grave disservice and puts Judaism into disrepute.

    The offense does matter – but we live in a world where we now seek make excuses before G-d for our sins instead of doing all we can to amend them.

    Gilles Bernheim’s reaction to his own theft makes one feel ashamed of being an Orthodox Jew. One expects more from a person befitting someone of his great stature.

    NormanF on April 12, 2013 at 1:06 am

The best of our military are being drummed out or are going to leave of there own volition. This president is doing everything he can to demoralize our military. As with everything else, he is fundamentally transforming our once-great military.

JeffT on April 11, 2013 at 10:29 pm

    With a hatchet man like Hagel, its said we get the leaders we deserve.

    As the Bible said of them thousands of years ago, in words as timeless as when they were proclaimed, “no one fears G-d and every man does what is right in his own eyes.”

    We are living in a post-Christian world and this does not bode well for the future of this once great country. Then again, I have always had the feeling that when things like this happen, I always know exactly on which side I stand.

    NormanF on April 12, 2013 at 12:56 am

@JeffT,
I think that’s exactly what’s happening Jeff. There’s not much doubt left in my mind about that.

Frankz on April 11, 2013 at 10:38 pm

It’s very deliberate but people can’t bear to think it.

Frankz on April 11, 2013 at 10:39 pm

I find Chuck Hagel to be a very strange man. The announcements and press conferences he has given so far reveal a man who is not all there. Lt. General Craig Franklin was destroyed by a politically correct system. You can imagine what will happen when women find themselves in combat roles. When they flounder and fail, they will litigate. Their commanding officer and fellow squad members will be the target of their wrath.

Worry01 on April 12, 2013 at 2:05 am

In a broader sense, the attack on Lt. General Franklin is also meant to be noticed by the Justices of the Supreme Court, as a warning of what might happen to them (a little more subtly) if they don’t rule correctly on the various decision that will come up in the next few years.

Little Al on April 12, 2013 at 4:49 am

For a LT GEN to write a six-page letter outlining 18 points in the woman’s testimony that caused him to rule as he did is remarkable. It would also seem to indicate a strong need to proactively defend his action against the storm he knew his ruling would create.

We need more like him, unfortunately, we’re getting less. Under Obama, a lot of the best ones have been forced out.

CG on April 12, 2013 at 9:59 am

For every one honorable general like Franklin you get douchebags like generals Dempsey and McCrystal and admirals like Mike Mullen. The latter being politically correctly stooges for the Odummer administration. With the dimbulb Hagel in charge of the DOD(is it me or does he sound like a retard during his pressers.) we can expect more good officers and enlisted to leave to military in droves. We had a saying when I was active duty about how shi’ite rolls downhill. Well the pile starts from the Oval Orrifice and goes from there. Men of honor like LT Gen Franklin need not stick around with the O’Clown in charge. Unless of course they tow the fembot line of women who cry rape are ALWAYS believed and the man is a lying POS or where women and homosexuals can serve and be open about it. Never mind something like unit cohesion that seems to escape clueless libpigs like senaturd McAsskill. The greatest military on this planet from the O-10s to to the E-1s deserves a CinC, SecDef and Joint Chiefs Chairmnan that have their best interests at heart. Not the politically correct crapweasels they have now.

Ken b on April 12, 2013 at 11:44 am

I am not a lawyer, but common sense tells me the woman had a motive for a false accusation. The prosecution, who hopefully did a thorough investigation concluded in their closing statement that she had,

“absolutely zero motive to falsely accuse this man.”

I know lie detector evidence usualy is not allowed in court. I hope some tests were administered. That would seem valid, if not to convict, then to overturn a conviction.

I can’t conclude the General was wrong in what he did. With all of the unprosecuted sexual assaults occurring in the military, this case deserves a thorough investigation.

Visteo on April 12, 2013 at 1:46 pm

    “investigation”?

    Not appearing in the fullest sense as women, but at least, females, such as Kimberly Hanks and Rebekah Havrilla do not at first face present as likely objects of desire, . . . Creatures, females such as those might kid themselves, they might kid our politicians and other corrupt and pc parties, but they don’t kid me. I would say, the average “Joe”, on awakening and finding himself in bed with either of them, would be clawing to get out and away, . . .

    PhillipGaley on April 13, 2013 at 4:29 am

Ooops…update….

“Lt. Col. Wilkerson failed a polygraph test and refused to testify at the trial.”

Now my question is… did the General review the polygraph results and comment on them in his six pages?

If I ever get convicted of something serious in a civilian court, I hope someone in my chain of command at work has the power to overturn that conviction.

Visteo on April 12, 2013 at 2:21 pm

Polygraphs are inadmissible in court and a sociopath can easily beat one.

They’re not infallible and the general reviewed the entire record. A lot of people don’t understand a judge’s work is very hard and is judge isn’t supposed to play favorites.

People have an opinion about someone’s guilt but it isn’t always borne out by the facts and some people like grandstanding politicians don’t have the time and the patience to listen to a judge because they’re playing to the crowd.

NormanF on April 12, 2013 at 4:37 pm

    I agree with you Norman. But in a civilian court a judge would be required to recuse himself, if the case involved a subordinate. Military law allows for inappropriate actions to occur. I see where this is needed, like at a time of war, among other instances.

    I read several articles on this court martial (You wouldn’t be Norman F B.? I may have seen a comment from you on one article). I am convinced that the L.Colonel was hiding something during his polygraph. Maybe the General knows what that was, but he apparently did not put it into his explanation of his decision. His eplanation came out only after the uproar from that decision. It is compelling, but also falls in line with a CYA document.

    Generals are not infallable. I think they are probably very capable of showing sympathy. I think that sympathy for a fellow officer may have played into this.

    Here is a link to the Generals 6 page statement…

    http://www.scribd.com/doc/135203535/Air-Force-General-explains-why-he-overturned-the-decision-in-sexual-assault-case

    Visteo on April 12, 2013 at 8:32 pm

I want to add that there is something troubling about the details for me. If the event had started as something consensual, but somewhere went bad; it would explain some of the inconsistencies. A consensual act might be something the Wilkerson’s would lie about. Once that lie is told, it becomes harder to present the truth….just a hunch.

I think there were bad decisions made in this whole affair. I have a further hunch that all involved are decent people involved in events that got out of control. I am troubled by the whole thing.

My guess is the General wishes he was advocate after the review and not a decision maker. I am sure he would not mind relinquishing that role.

Visteo on April 12, 2013 at 9:27 pm

Well we don’t know all the facts of the case but we know the agenda.

“As the Air Force and other military organizations are redoubling efforts to erase a culture that has often turned a blind eye on sexual assault, Lt. Gen. Franklin’s conduct undermines this important shift” – Sen. Claire McCaskill.

“I know him personally and he IS one of the most honorable men I know. He is thoughtful in his actions and has never been a man who put forth effort to move ahead in his career but instead he worked hard, made decisions purely based on what he felt was right and is a solid Christian man. He shouldn’t be held accountable for problem DOD has with sexual assault right now and that’s what’s happening. If this case was about drugs or some other type of crime, we would never hear about it. This may be precisely why Wilkerson was convicted in the first place…climate issues.” – Anonymous

Frankz on April 13, 2013 at 6:10 am

@visteo,
Juries aren’t infallible either.
If there wasn’t sufficient evidence and they convicted that’s equally as serious as what Franklin is accused of.
The media is not going to report the story from that angle ever.

Frankz on April 13, 2013 at 7:02 am

@Frankz,

I agree. We do know the agenda, and if it was clear that there was insufficient evidence that agenda would not exist. This would not be newsworthy and the media would not report the events.

Visteo on April 14, 2013 at 5:31 pm

@Visteo
No, the agenda would exist because it has nothing to do with this case.

If it’s not clear that there wasn’t sufficient evidence then it’s not clear that there was.
I don’t see anything in the media that addresses that question.

What I’ve seen is some evidence that is supposed to suggest he was guilty.
Well it’s not enough.
They needed to prove it beyond a reasonable doubt.

Do we have a better understanding of whether they did that from the media coverage?
Do we even know from the media coverage what the burden of proof was supposed to be?
In my opinion definitely not.

Frankz on April 15, 2013 at 10:25 am

@Frankz,

The agenda is to highlight that the military has a problem with sexual assault, but it is not being adequately addressed and many victims are afraid to come forward because too often there is no justice for the victim.

An “all-male jury of four colonels and a lieutenant colonel” found Wilkerson guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. The judge did not overturn the findings either. If I am wrong, please correct me.

I read the six-page explanation. It did not convince me the jury and judge’s findings were incorrect. They made decisions based on the testimony and credibility of the testimony presented in the trial. The General only read transcripts.

In the justice system an appelate court could overturn that decision, but the judge is required to be removed from the litigants…not so in the military courts.

I would love to know the percentage of cases overturned for enlisted men and officers in the military courts.

Visteo on April 16, 2013 at 3:52 pm

I have known Lt. General Franklin for sixteen years, and, he would NEVER compromise truth, regardless of any benefit/ harm to his own personal outcome. Great intelligence, honor, and civility, Franklin is a man of remarkable compassion. He proceeded, knowing the fall out in making this decision could destroy his career.The truth took precedence, and now, impacts negatively, his life long devotion to his country.and career .
He is a true American patriot if ever I have known one.

TurquoiseBlue on June 4, 2013 at 8:09 pm

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