Retired Rear Adm. Patrick J. Lorge is now admitting that political pressure caused him to convict Navy SEAL Keith E. Barry of rape in 2014.
In an affidavit submitted as part of an appeals process, Lorge stated May 5 that he does not believe the government proved the accusation of rape against Senior Chief Special Warfare Operator Barry “beyond a reasonable doubt,” Navy Times reports.
Barry’s lawyers have filed a motion with the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces for a reconsideration of the case, as they think Barry’s conviction is one of the worst examples of unlawful command influence since the implementation of the Uniform Code of Military Justice in 1950.
Moreover, Lorge also thinks that had he not approved of the conviction, he would’ve created the impression of covering up sexual assaults in the military.
“Absent the pressures described [in my affidavit], I would have disapproved the findings in this case,” Lorge wrote in his affidavit.
For Lorge, the pressure came from President Barack Obama’s White House and also the Senate.
“At the time, the political climate regarding sexual assault in the military was such that a decision to disapprove the findings, regardless of merit, would bring hate and discontent on the Navy from the President, as well as senators including Senator Kirstin Gillibrand,” Lorge wrote in his affidavit.
Lorge believes that based on his conversations with senior officials in the Navy, he was essentially told that “if you disapprove the findings, it will ruin your career.”
After Barry had sexual encounters with the woman who accused him of rape, he told her that he didn’t want a relationship. Barry dated her for about a month.
Following one of the encounters, the woman talked with some of her female friends and came to the conclusion she had been raped and later filed charges.
She described Barry to Naval Criminal Investigative Service agents as a “sex god.”
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