Lt. Col. James Wilkerson, the Air Force fighter pilot convicted last year of sexual assault — only to have his controversial case later overturned by a General — has some new troubles to worry about.
Stars & Stripes reports that new allegations have surfaced against Wilkerson, with an unnamed woman reporting they had an extramarital affair and that he fathered her child.
“I guess it’s grating to me that he has no accountability,” the woman told Stripes. “They say he’s a perfect man — that’s unsettling to me.”
Wilkerson was convicted last year on sexual assault charges after he allegedly digitally penetrated a sleeping house guest after a party. His case was later overturned and he was reinstated by Lt. Gen. Craig Franklin, who apparently found him more credible than the victim.
The Wilkerson case outraged lawmakers and activists, and shined a light on the difference between civilian and military justice — with military commanders being allowed the final call on whether to accept or reject a verdict.
Wilkerson’s military record and credibility weighed heavily in the general’s decision. In a memo explaining his decision to overturn the court, Lt. Gen. Franklin wrote that letters from Wilkerson’s supporters “painted a consistent picture of a person who adored his wife and 9-year-old son, as well as a picture of a long-serving professional Air Force officer.”
But the new allegations will certainly call this assessment into question.
The woman declined to be identified, she said, to protect her children and herself from publicity. She said she possesses legal adoption documents in which Wilkerson relinquishes his parental rights over the child, but she declined to provide Stars and Stripes with unredacted versions of those documents that could be independently verified. According to the woman, Wilkerson’s wife, Beth, was aware of the affair and the child.
Wilkerson was returned to active duty, but was removed from the promotions list.
“That is not justice,” Rep. Jackie Speier said in an Apr. 17 press conference. “This general is not a lawyer. He has no legal training. This general never sat one hour in the courtroom.”
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