FORT RUCKER, Ala. – An Army officer was acquitted by a military judge Wednesday of raping a soldier in her barracks room, a claim the defense said she concocted to keep from being sent to Iraq.
First Lt. Mike Hall (search), 35, had testified in his court-martial that a night of dancing, flirting and kissing with 1st Lt. Jennifer Dyer (search), 26, last August led to consensual sex, not rape as she alleged.
He said Dyer invited him into her room at Camp Shelby (search) in Mississippi and that, during two short episodes of intercourse, he stopped both times when she said "No."
Hall was also acquitted on an adultery charge but convicted of having sex without informing his partner that he had genital herpes. The sex transmission charge is part of the military justice code that refers to acts "unbecoming of an officer and a gentleman."
Prosecutors wanted Hall to be sentenced to a year in prison or dismissed from the military on the sex transmission charge. But the judge, Col. Richard Gordon, ordered Hall to forfeit $1,000 of his monthly pay of some $3,700 for four months. He said Hall would receive a written reprimand.
The judge said Hall's deployment to Iraq to rejoin his unit would be up to his company commander, who has said he is in favor of it.
"I want the opportunity to still go serve with my unit," Hall said. "I want to show what I did was a mistake."
The prosecutor, Capt. Richard Dodson, said the evidence against Hall showed he "has no respect for Army values."
The judge acquitted Hall, who lives in Murfreesboro, Tenn., on the most serious charge of rape after a three-day trial at which Dyer testified that Hall forced her to have sex twice. She said she was too afraid of Hall to call for help in the barracks.
Dyer cried when the verdict was read and was escorted away without making any statement. Dyer, a National Guard soldier from New Jersey at the time, has since been honorably discharged and returned to her law enforcement job with a sheriff's department in New Jersey.
Dyer went public with her story on CBS' "60 Minutes," complaining that Army investigators doubted her claim and put her in a hotel room without access to a phone for two days.