In addition to advocating for the falsely accused and wrongfully convicted Save Our Heroes Project lends support to the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th waves of false allegations and wrongful convictions to the families left behind in the military’s insatiable desire to convict any and all allegations of sexual assault, regardless of merit, facts or evidence.
These other waves have drastic and dramatic effects, especially on the families and especially the children left without a service member parent.
SOH has received a substantial amount of information and complaints concerning one area involving military detention facilities, specifically the denial of incarcerated service members access to their children.
As such, SOH has filed a letter of concern dated March 27, 2018 to the commander of the Joint Regional Correctional Facility Lieutenant Colonel Karin Watson, at Fort Leavenworth, regarding a potential violation of the United Nations Human Rights Commission.
The issue involves an Army soldier who has been convicted of sexual misconduct and is currently serving his sentence at Fort Leavenworth. Army Staff Sergeant Michael Guinn was found guilty of one specification of sexual abuse of a child in September of 2017. He was reduced in rank to E1, confinement for four years, and a dishonorable discharge. Guinn adamantly maintains his innocence.
SSG Guinn’s family have been in contact with SOH staff and learned that because his offense was a conviction of child sexual abuse, he is prevented by JCRF staff and policy to have contact with his minor children, even though his minor children were not the alleged victim(s) of the offense for which he is confined.
The American Civil Liberties Union had also filed a letter to the JRCF Commander, on February 13, 2018, which has been provided, that this policy by JRCF is a violation of the 5th Amendment of the Constitution.
SOH agrees, and in furtherance of that constitutional violation, JRCF’s refusal to allow SSG Guinn contact and communication with his minor children is a potential violation of numerous provisions of the United Nations, General Assembly, Human Rights Commission Resolution 1386, “Declaration on the Rights of the Child,” 20 November 1959, and a Violation of the United Nations “Convention of the Rights of the Child,” in Accordance with Article 49, 2 September 1990.
Additionally, the mother of his minor children wants them to have contact and communication with Guinn, and the whole concept of the best interests of the child would best be served by having contact with their father.
This is not the only scenario in which a service member has been denied contact with their children. In fact, it is common practice and their policy. According to the ACLU letter, JRCF’s policy for service members serving sentences for sex related offenses must complete a treatment and rehabilitation program, prior to having access to their children.
The ‘Catch-22’ of these programs is the fact that prior to entering these rehab and treatment programs, the service member must ‘confess’ to their crime. Even if the service member professes their innocence and are in the appellate process, they must confess to their crime, which then is ultimately used against them in the appeal process.
For all intents and purposes, it is effectively, an extortion scheme, withholding access to minor children unless the service member confesses. If the service member is in fact guilty of a sex related offense, and confesses, then that is the decision of that service member.
In the case of SSG Guinn, he adamantly professes his innocence, the alleged victim are not his minor children, and his children and their mother and grandparents want the children to have contact with him.
A former service member who contacted SOH whose own case revealed that he was falsely accused and wrongfully convicted, commented on this practice of JRCF routinely denying access to children stating, “denying access to their kids will drive some over the edge.”
In another case, a teenage son of a wrongfully convicted service member, who had been prevented from seeing and communicating with his father, was murdered while he was incarcerated. The wife of this same wrongfully convicted serviceman has been diagnosed with terminal breast cancer, and with the loss of medical benefits, the condition will soon be fatal.
It would be understandable if a service member was convicted of sexually abusing their own children, that a denial of contact might be appropriate, but when the alleged victim is not their own children, and the mother and grandparents want such contact, why would a correctional facility deny such contact?
SOH has repeatedly pointed out the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th, tiered affects of false allegations and wrongful convictions, the effects on family members, the financial ruin, and in some cases, suicide.
False allegations and wrongful convictions are devastating and even if exonerated or convictions are reversed in an appeal, some service members take years or perhaps decades to recover, and some never do.
SOH already has nearly 270 cases of falsely accused and wrongfully convicted service members, most of which involve some type of false allegation or wrongful conviction of sexual misconduct, and SOH opines that there may be as many as 400 falsely accused and wrongfully convicted service members who have been incarcerated or are currently serving sentences.
If the commander of JRCF replies to our letter or if we learn that SSG Guinn’s basic human right of access to his children is resolved, then we will inform our readers.
To our readers, please feel free to download our letter to JRCF and if you are in a similar situation, use our letter as a template and if you would like for us to post it on our website, let us know.
February 13, 2018 Letter to JRCF from the ACLU
March 27, 2018 Letter to JRCF from SOH