DATE: Friday, March 21, 1997 TAG: 9703210708 SECTION: FRONT PAGE: A3 EDITION: FINAL SOURCE: ASSOCIATED PRESS DATELINE: ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, MD. LENGTH: 57 lines
An Army captain who had sex with a trainee seeking advice about an affair with her sergeant was ordered to serve four months in prison Thursday and dismissed from the service.
Capt. Derrick Robertson, who pleaded guilty to adultery, consensual sodomy and other charges, was the highest-ranking officer accused in the Aberdeen Army sex scandal, which sparked investigations at bases worldwide.
Robertson, 31, was cleared under a plea deal of the more serious charges of rape, indecent assault and obstruction of justice. The deal stipulated he would serve only four months of a one-year sentence.
Standing in court in his dress uniform, Robertson admitted he had sex with a 20-year-old female trainee at his home in September - three weeks after receiving training on avoiding sexual contact with subordinates.
``I did not seek the relationship but I did enter into it and for that I take full responsibility,'' Robertson said. ``I would like to apologize to everyone involved for my poor judgment and the pain I caused.''
Prosecutors said the female private had been troubled by her sexual relationship with her drill sergeant, Delmar Simpson, who is also accused in the sex scandal, and sought advice from Robertson, her company commander.
``This commander used his entrusted command position to develop a sexual relationship,'' said Capt. Theresa Gallagher, a government prosecutor. ``He made her his sexual plaything.
``His conduct strikes at the very heart of the system, the relationship between commander and soldier - trust.''
Robertson was separated from his second wife, whom he had married in March 1996, at the time of the sexual encounter. ``I was experiencing extreme pain and was very lonely,'' he said in court.
Military Judge Ferdinand Clervi asked if Robertson understood his conduct ``was of a nature to bring discredit to the armed forces,'' Robertson replied, ``Yes, your honor.''
Robertson also pleaded guilty to two counts of conduct unbecoming an officer and one count of failing to obey a lawful general order.
His sentence, which he will begin serving in one week at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., will be followed by two months' probation.
Robertson is one of eight staff members at the military training facility charged with criminal sex offenses.
Three others face courts-martial. Two others have agreed to discharges, one faces a nonjudicial hearing and one still faces the military equivalent of a grand jury hearing.
At least 50 female recruits have alleged they were sexually abused at the post in recent years. The Aberdeen complaints prompted an Army inquiry into sexual harassment at bases worldwide that has resulted in about 300 criminal investigations. ILLUSTRATION: Photo
Capt. Derrick Robertson pleaded guilty to adultery, consensual
sodomy and other charges. KEYWORDS: U.S. ARMY SEXUAL HARASSMENT RAPE
SEX CRIME INVESTIGATION ARREST SENTENCING
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