Rape charge dismissed against cadet

June 9, 2004 at 10:14 AM
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COLORADO SPRINGS, June 9 (UPI) -- A military rape charge has been dismissed against the only Air Force Academy cadet to face the allegation in the school's sexual-assault scandal.

Douglas Meester, 21, of Marco Island, Fla., received a written reprimand Tuesday and was fined $2,000 for getting drunk and having sex with a cadet, the Denver post reported.

In exchange for the dismissal, Meester pleaded guilty to conduct unbecoming an officer, dereliction of duty and committing an indecent act. If convicted on the rape charge, he could have received up to life imprisonment.

Frank Spinner, Meester's civilian attorney, said the case was influenced by top Air Force officers who buckled to pressure during the scandal in which dozens of women alleged the academy had failed to address their assault cases.

Maj. Erica Austin, academy spokeswoman, said the rape charge was dropped mostly because the woman did not want to testify because it would have caused her more anxiety.

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