Can I be prosecuted in the military for what I post online?
The answer is of course, as it often is, it really depends. Online conduct is being policed now more and more by the military. What’s going to depend on whether or not the actual conduct can be prosecuted is whether or not it separately violates a military policy or regulation about the underlying act. So for instance, the Army already has a policy against bullying. Bullying can occur online and can constitute what they define as online conduct. The other instance that we often see people being prosecuted for, or at least receiving non-judicial punishment for their online conduct is whether or not their behavior would separately qualify as sexual harassment or harassment or violating other principles of equal opportunity or equal employment opportunity.
So the simplest answer is absolutely online conduct can be prosecuted for people who are in the military. What becomes gray and becomes harder to understand and analyze is whether or not there is a separate underlying policy that’s violated for that specific form of online behavior.
Jocelyn Stewart is a UCMJ court-martial attorney who specializes in defense of allegations of sexual assault for all branches of the military worldwide.
Contact the Law Office of Jocelyn C. Stewart at 1-888-252-0927
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