Friday, February 18, 2011

NLSO Commander Fired, Staff Reprimanded Over VWAP Failures

The Navy's DJAG, RADM Nanette DeRenzi, fired Navy Regional Legal Services Office (RLSO) Japan commander CAPT Rex Guinn yesterday, and others from the RLSO office received reprimands. The actions followed in the wake of an investigation into the prosecution of an O-4 doctor who was convicted of a series of sexual assaults and harassment of his female patients in Japan and Kuwait.

The problems with the case centered on the mishandling of the Victim Witness Assistance Program, which the RLSO managed for LCDR Anthony Velasquez's case. It seems RLSO officers were involved in negotiating a sweet pretrial agreement for Velasquez without getting the required input from the victims, several of whom had already endured the Navy dropping the ball on their allegations at various junctures over a 1-2 year period. In fact, Velasquez pled guilty to just a handful of charges, while the Navy dismissed over 2 dozen other specifications as part of the deal.

In the end, Velasquez's deal had him serving a mere week in confinement with his $28,000 adjudged fine suspended. The military judge sentenced Velasquez to 2 years in confinement, the fine, and a dismissal from the service. The RLSO notified victims of the adjudged sentence, but not the plea agreement terms.

Stars and Stripes reports that former Special Assistant for Transformation CAPT Dawn Tompkins is replacing CAPT Guinn. Interestingly, CAPT Guinn prosecuted the high-profile case of another JAG, the Valentine's Day card leaker of Guantanamo detainee names, LCDR Matthew Diaz.