The Army Blotter: "Suicide" mystery pains dad, DOD sex assault law, SGT broke cop's nose, teen girls beat soldier

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  • The Army says only that Staff Sgt. David Senft, 27, a crew chief on a Black Hawk helicopter in the 101st Airborne Division’s aviation brigade, was killed as a result of ”injuries sustained in a noncombat related incident” at Kandahar Air Base on Nov. 15. No specific cause of death has been announced. Army officials say three separate inquiries into the death are under way. But his father, also named David Senft, an electrician from Grass Valley, Calif., who had worked in Afghanistan for a military contractor, is convinced that his son committed suicide, as are many of his friends and family members and the soldiers who served with him. “The evidence appears overwhelming,” says James Risen’s piece in the Times. [via New York Times]
  • Massachusetts congresswoman Niki Tsongas pushed to pass legislation aimed at improving the Pentagon’s handling of rape and sexual abuse cases, as part of the new defense spending bill. The measures force the military to adopt a better system for reporting and documenting sexual assaults, mandate that a single official have responsibility for making sure complaints are handled properly, and require the Department of Defense to devise ways of offering legal counsel to all victims, whether or not they want to report an assault. [via The Boston Globe]
  • Police say Fort Bliss Sgt. Chris Levi Brown, 25, broke a police officer’s nose on New Year’s Eve after they responded to Club 101 for reports Brown was yelling and cursing at the bar staff. Brown allegedly hit two officers. He was charged with aggravated assault on a public servant. [via KVIA-TV News]
  • Two Georgia teen girls were arrested Thursday and charged with beating and robbing a 24-year-old soldier who was wearing “military clothing.” The suspects, 17 and 19, allegedly beat the unidentified soldier with a stick, kicked him in the head and stole his cell phone and wallet, which contained $270 cash. [via Columbus Ledger-Enquirer]
  • Former national guardsman Nick Moody, jailed in the United Arab Emirates on charges of possession of “accessories related to firearms,” received a warm homecoming in Reno, Nev. “I’m glad to be back in the States, and I’m overwhelmed by the reception,” said Moody, 23, as dozens of family, friends and well-wishers met him at Reno-Tahoe International Airport. “Thank you for supporting me and trying to get me home. Thanks to your help, I’m home now.” [via Reno Gazette-Journal]
  • Army vet Benjamin Hamel and a Marine vet, are suing a veterans nonprofit in Massachusetts, alleging it wrongfully evicted them. Hamel, who suffers from TBI, PTSD and a shoulder injury after a tour in Iraq, claims the nonprofit failed to provide services, and that it promised to provide housing at no cost but instead charged vets 30 percent of their incomes.[via News-Telegram]
  • Colorado National Guard Maj. David Merritt has filed a federal lawsuit accusing a Wisconsin hospital of firing him from a job as an ER doc because of an overseas deployment to Afghanistan. [via Associated Press/Chicago Tribune]
  • Fort Bliss Pvt. Theodore Gersky, 21, was charged with the drunken driving death of a 57-year-old man after Gersky allegedly ran a red light and slammed his truck into the victim’s truck before dawn. [via El Paso Times]
  • Fayetteville, N.C.,  soldier Daniel Morgan Price, 24, was arrested after police–called to him home for a domestic dispute–say he assaulted a woman and a child under 12- years-old. [via WTVD-TV News]
  • A Rhode Island court has set up a jail diversionary program for vets and others suffering from PTSD. The idea is to catch potential candidates, including those impacted by the trauma of rape or abuse, before they land in jail. A clinician assesses whether the individual suffers from PTSD, puts him or her in touch with resources and arranges mental health and substance abuse treatment as an alternative to prison, with the prosecutor’s and a judge’s consent. The goal is get people who have suffered trauma the mental-health care they need to achieve recovery. The hope for veterans is to demystify PTSD. [via Providence Journal-Bulletin]
  • A court in Salt Lake City is sponsoring a similar “veterans court” program. The Deseret Morning News highlights the case of Army vet Gordon Gleason, 55. [via Deseret Morning News]
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