Legal Harassment Filter: I'm being harassed by a soldier.
January 15, 2009 1:10 PM   Subscribe

Who can I contact if I'm being harassed by a U.S. army soldier.

I'm currently the victim of harassment by a U.S. army soldier. This person is clearly in violation of the harassment laws in my state. I've tried to resolve this problem amicably myself, and I've tried resolving this through a third party, to no avail. Who in the army can I contact about this kind of issue?
posted by charles_farley to Law & Government (22 answers total)
His commanding officer. That should put this to bed RIGHT quick.
posted by Justinian at 1:15 PM on January 15, 2009

Unless you're also in the army, or this is occurring on a military base, why on earth would you try to resolve it through the military? Harassment is harassment, regardless of the harasser's occupation. Call the police.

Unless, of course, it's not really harassment and you're just trying to get someone in trouble at work. Then you can go through military channels. But you're not going to get anywhere.
posted by mudpuppie at 1:24 PM on January 15, 2009

Response by poster: I'm not sure the soldier's billet or commanding officer. I was hoping for something a little less severe than police intervention, but I'm getting the feeling that there will be no other option here soon.
posted by charles_farley at 1:40 PM on January 15, 2009

I disagree with mudpuppie.

Going through the military channels isn't just going after his job. There's law enforcement in the military, and military members are held to the standards they are by that law enforcement, including the way they treat civilians in non-military places. Getting in a public bar fight can get a soldier in a lot of trouble.

You most certainly can call the military police and/or contact the offender's commanding officer and make your complaint. This will almost certainly get you some fast results, indeed, but know that this is a strong action. Be sure you are very clear in your complaints, provide proof, and be prepared to back it up. I wouldn't consider this to be less severe than contacting the non-military police.

If you know the base where s/he's stationed, you should be able to find a general number for the MPs on the base website. 'd suggest you call the front desk, explain your situation, and see where they can take you from there. That said, don't hesitate to contact your local law enforcement authority, as well. Those departments sometimes work in tandem.
posted by juliplease at 1:42 PM on January 15, 2009 [1 favorite]

Nthing calling his C.O. A friend of mine caught a Marine stealing his laptop (and subsequently beat the shit out of him) during a house party and received a personal apology from both the Marine and his commanding officer the next morning.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 1:48 PM on January 15, 2009 [2 favorites]

Generally, soldiers are subject to both ordinary civil/criminal law, and also military law (which is generally harsher in its punishment and faster in its application). Contact the police.
posted by Happy Dave at 2:04 PM on January 15, 2009

Talk to his CO. Even if no legal proceedings occur, his CO will put the fear of God into him.

As I understand it, in many situations, the military has sole jurisdiction over active-duty military personnel. Not that the police can't bust him if he's committing crimes off base, but they generally then hand him over to the MPs anyway.
posted by Netzapper at 2:04 PM on January 15, 2009 [1 favorite]

On second thought, if you are looking for something less severe, just threaten to tell his CO. Better still if you can find out who it is and let the offender know that you know. This threat may be enough to put an end to it. If it doesn't, then it's time to respond in kind anyway: report it.
posted by juliplease at 2:15 PM on January 15, 2009

I'm also in disagreement with mudpuppie. You don't care how it gets done, you just get it done. The commanding officer will take care of it. He's under military justice as well as civillian justice.

I'd also contact local police.
posted by Ironmouth at 2:26 PM on January 15, 2009

It's weird that, when someone here is complaining of harassment by a member of the military, a bunch of MeFites are gnashing their teeth about how "harsh" it is to invoke military discipline and urging you to take a "softer" approach.

Hell, call his commanding officer, call the military police ... call everyone who can keep this goon from bothering you any more.
posted by jayder at 2:35 PM on January 15, 2009 [3 favorites]

Call the CO.

By merely threatening to tell the CO, you're just playing the game back at him, waiting for him to make the next move. If you actually tell the CO, you can end the drama, take away his power and hopefully make the whole things stop.
posted by BobbyVan at 2:40 PM on January 15, 2009 [3 favorites]

Army MPs.

It doesn't matter which base he's from, or where he's posted, or whether he's in uniform or not. He's in the United States Army so he is answerable to United States Army Military Police, and they will determine what to do with him. I'd suggest you ask one of the MPs to get back to you with the name of this jerk's CO so you can lodge a formal complaint on top of that.
posted by turgid dahlia at 3:04 PM on January 15, 2009 [2 favorites]

Former military here. UCMJ (Uniform Code of Military Justice) action is WAY worse than anything s/he'll get from the local police. If you don't know how to reach his/her CO, call the post where s/he's stationed and ask to be transfered to the company orderly room to which s/he is assigned. Speak to the first sergeant and/or commander. Your problem will be solved, I guarantee it.
posted by jasondbarr at 3:05 PM on January 15, 2009 [3 favorites]

Reading over my answer, the "Army Military" sounds fucking hardcore.

jasondbarr, I think the poster mentioned above that he doesn't know where this nonce is stationed. That's why I think he should just get on to the MPs at the nearest base because, unless I am mistaken in my thinking, if he's in the Army then he can be policed by Army MPs anywhere in the world.
posted by turgid dahlia at 3:11 PM on January 15, 2009

turgid dahlia, actually, the way I read it was they didn't know specifically where on the post the soldier was stationed (battalion, company, etc.). However, if you know the person is US Army, odds are there is only one place in a particular locale where this person could be stationed. Just call the main number and they'll find out where the person is assigned.
posted by jasondbarr at 3:31 PM on January 15, 2009

Ahh, I getcha. You're likely righter than me. I guess I just figured that depending on the town, it's entirely possible that it could be equidistant from multiple Army installations.
posted by turgid dahlia at 3:33 PM on January 15, 2009

Response by poster: These are all good answers and I'm very appreciative... does anyone have a suggestion on how I can find out where a particular soldier is stationed?
posted by charles_farley at 3:59 PM on January 15, 2009

The MPs will work that out.
posted by turgid dahlia at 4:17 PM on January 15, 2009

Best answer: charles,

I want to make a point regarding you comment earlier that you were hoping for something a little less severe than police intervention.

you should abandon that hope and not fear taking this route at all. the harasser needs to get a significant shot in front of the bow now in order to come to the realization that he needs to stop. as long as he feels in control he will have no issue pursuing and even upping this game. once you do something as strong and forceful as contacting military police you are sending two signals -- first that he is known should anything happen in the future, which functions as a higher bar to overcome should he have further bad intentions and secondly that his problem is known which makes it clear to him really fast that he is being watched by those around him and hat they would come to him first were anything to happen in the future.

predators fear the light. they like thinking they are superior and will never be caught because they are so stealth and so much smarter than anyone else. to take a very crass example look at the BTK killer. he sent letters to law enforcement taunting them that ultimately lead to him getting caught. he did this because he thought they'd never be able to do just that, because he felt secure.

going to law enforcement will take any security and feeling of control over this situation from your harasser. any reasonable individual will wake up and smell the coffee. a real psychopath would hopefully be discovered as such during the investigation. this is not a trial where you need masses of evidence to win. this is saying "hey, this is bad, I want you to know about it."

the only reason to not contact law enforcement is if this is really you feeling angry/betrayed/scorned by this individual and thinking about a good way to get back at him. that would not be a smart idea on your part. of course I am certain this is not the case here.
posted by krautland at 5:14 PM on January 15, 2009 [4 favorites]

I disagree with juliplease.

If I were threatened in some way, I would immediately take steps to neutralize the threat at its source, & I would immediately begin constructing a defense against that threat, all the while smiling to myself & saying, about my adversary, "Thanks for having the big mouth, chump."

Never, ever, threaten. Act.
posted by Forrest Greene at 5:15 PM on January 15, 2009 [1 favorite]

Contact the Army here to report a crime of interest to the US Army. Start here. You'll be taken very seriously. Be careful, though, to report only facts that you know to be true; making a false report is itself a crime.
posted by ikkyu2 at 7:26 PM on January 15, 2009

Nthing calling his C.O. A friend of mine caught a Marine stealing his laptop (and subsequently beat the shit out of him) during a house party and received a personal apology from both the Marine and his commanding officer the next morning.

Oh man. I don't know what he got more shit for, stealing or getting beaten by a civilian.
posted by atrazine at 7:24 AM on January 16, 2009

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