Info on Army criminal suspects withheld

Jan. 14, 2013 at 4:03 PM
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FORT SILL, Okla., Jan. 14 (UPI) -- The commander of the U.S. Army base in Fort Sill, Okla., has ordered information about soldiers accused of crimes be kept secret from the public, officials say.

The restrictions have been put in place even as two service members at the base await trial on crimes involving victims under the age of 12, The (Oklahoma City) Oklahoman reported Monday.

Maj. Gen. James "Mark" McDonald instituted the limitations on public access to information after taking command last year.

In November, the base's public affairs office announced it would no longer make available basic information about a defendant, including their name and rank, or information about the crime.

What information is released may still be redacted.

Base officials also have not released the name of the prosecutor or judge in one of the upcoming trials. Neither have they released the defendant's age or military occupation.

A Pentagon spokesman said McDonald has no legal mandate to release the information.

The policy is equivalent to a civilian court not releasing any information about the defendant or the alleged crime until after the trial is concluded.

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