Ashley Madison Hack May Lead to Court Martial of Servicemen

Ashley Madison Hack May Lead to Court Martial of Servicemen

The Ashley Madison hack has left quite a disastrous aftermath for the families of those men (and women) who were signed up for the service. In the wake of the aftermath, serious consequences have emerged that go beyond the heartache and loss of trust that has been seen in couples. In the last week, there have been reports of two men who committed suicide with their Ashley Madison presence being linked to the reasoning behind their suicide; in addition, the government and military have decided to get involved to discover and court-martial those military men and women for their indiscretions.

Article 134 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, Crime of Adultery

Under Article 134 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, the military may prosecute a military member if three elements of the crime of adultery have been committed.

  1. The member of the military must have had sexual intercourse with another person
  2. The soldier or member of the military must not have been married to the person with whom he/she had sex
  3. The adultery must have been considered the conduct of the soldier that prejudices good order and discredits the armed forces

The Elements of the Crime

The first and second elements are straightforward but may be difficult to prove since adultery tends to be hidden and private due to its illicit nature. The third element is more vague and subjective, requiring the balancing of multiple considerations when assessing the extent that a soldier’s adultery “discredits” the armed forces. Usually, the final prong can be easier to prove when the parties involved are both members of the armed forces, there are ranking and position disparities between the parties, the impact on the military unit and morale, and whether the adultery led to the misuse of government time, resources, and/or facilities. If the elements are met, the military court may determine what type of adverse action may occur, with criminal liability potentially attaching, along with dishonorable discharge and one year of confinement.

Signing Up is Not Adultery In and Of Itself: The Necessity of Evidence

What will help those servicemen and women whose emails have been linked to profiles on the Ashley Madison system is the fact that signing up for the website itself cannot prove the above-mentioned three elements? Signing up is not proof of adultery, and because there was no requirement that a user had to verify his/her email, it is still a viable defense to state that the user’s information was taken for the use of the scam. The evidence that will rebut that argument, however, could include payment from a credit card number associated with the serviceman/woman. Also, for a court-martial to lead to prosecution, it must be proven that the website users actually had sex with others who were not their spouses.

Pentagon Will Not Investigate; the Army and Military May Still Investigate

It has been estimated that up to 10,000 “.mil” extensions have been found within the database of the Ashley Madison hack, which could lead to a significant number of investigations within the military community. However, certain divisions and departments are deciding whether to investigate those caught within this hack. The Pentagon has released a statement that it will not investigate the emails and users, due to the serious amounts of time, money, and resources needed to investigate every user found with a governmental email address. The Army and other branches of the military, however, may still decide to investigate those users who may have misused government resources, rather than those men and women whose only offense was signing up.

Experienced Family Law Attorneys in Mount Pleasant, Charleston Area

If your spouse is on the Ashley Madison list, it may be difficult to decide what this will mean for your marriage. An experienced family law attorney at Klok Law Firm LLC can provide guidance on what steps will benefit you and how to protect yourself in a divorce. Contact Klok Law Firm LLC for an initial and confidential consultation.