Stars and Stripes reported that Lt. Col. Joseph Morse, Chief Trial Counsel Assistance Program at Fort Belvoir, Va., who supervised 23 of the Army’s special victim prosecutors, has been suspended from his position. The special victim prosecutors are in charge of prosecuting assault, domestic abuse and crimes against children. He was also responsible for Army prosecutorial training and assistance around the world. He was the lead prosecutor in the case involving the mass murder of 16 Afghan civilians in 2012. The suspension is the result of a recent allegation made against him by a female Army lawyer. She alleged that Morse attempted to kiss and grope her, against her will, in a hotel room during a sexual assault legal conference in 2011. The Army is currently investigating the allegations, and he has been suspended from duty pending the outcome of the investigation. The Army is still reeling from a late February announcement that 588 troops and employees in “positions of trust”, including sexual assault response personnel, were suspended for alleged misconduct including sexual crimes and alcohol abuse.
Practice pointer. This is just another example of how no one is immune from alleged misconduct: from the very top of any organization to the very bottom. Although this is not a situation where there was a lack of training, oftentimes employers do not properly train their entire staff, including the officers, managers and supervisors. Proper polices and training of the entire workforce are essential in any place of employment. If the allegations are true, the fact that the top Army prosecutor for sexual assault cases committed sexual assault is, in fact, stranger than fiction.