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Aug20

Military Justice update

Thursday, 20 August 2015 Written by // Guest Authors - Revolving Door Categories // International , Legal, Living with HIV, Revolving Door, Guest Authors

Primary witness calls for the non-disclosure case against Lt. Colonel Pinkela of the US Army to be dismissed

Military Justice update

PositiveLite.com has been following the extraordinary Ken Pinkela case for some time. 

You can read our initial interview with Ken here 

We followed this up with a second interview 

We talked about his petition for a case reviews – it currently bears 73,581 signatures – here.

The principal witness against him, Elliot Scott Henney, has since recanted his testimony. Now Ken shares that witness’s letter......

******** 

Kenneth Pinkela. Otisville, NY 

In an amazing courageous act, Mr Henney has sent this letter to Secretary McHugh. With his permission I am updating my petition to ask for support and pressure on the US Army to review my case and give me my life back.This can never happen again to another service member. 

August 10, 2015 

The Honorable John M. McHugh

Secretary of the Army

101 Army Pentagon

Washington, DC 20310-0101 

Dear Secretary McHugh, 

My name is Elliot Scott Henney. I was the primary witness, and an alleged “victim” in the case United States v. Kenneth Pinkela. I am contacting you with the hope that you can help correct an injustice imposed on me, on LTC Pinkela and on the American people. 

Since the Army determined I was an alleged victim of Ken’s, I have a right for the Army to hear what I have to say. 

I am the son of a retired Naval Officer, and the grandson and great-grandson of others who have served in the U.S. military. I hold those in such positions to a higher moral obligation and trust. For me to agree to testify against LTC Pinkela was not an easy decision. To later discover it was based on lies within more lies has been emotionally devastating, physically made me sick to my stomach and led to health crises in my life. 

I deeply regret my cooperation with the US Army and the prosecutor, CPT Jordan Stapely. CPT Stapely coerced me into believing LTC Pinkela was a sexual deviant and predator who would put others at risk if I did not agree to testify. I was always doubtful, as what CPT Stapely told me was at complete odds with my nothing but positive experience with Ken (I knew Ken when I was in college). But CPT Stapely assured me he had 100% proof, beyond a reasonable doubt, and that it was my duty to testify against Ken. 

Now I know the facts: 

1) The Army did no investigation, and that there was, and is, no physical evidence incriminating Pinkela. 

2) The Army did not pursue the phylogenetic testing that could determine the extent to which the strain of HIV Pinkela’s accuser, Hamilton, was or was not similar to the strain Pinkela has; I had a partner who was HIV+, I understand the virus and how the virus can and cannot be transmitted. 

3) The Army, through CPT Stapely, lied when he told me that there were at least “half a dozen” other witnesses testifying against him. That was and is, a complete lie, used by Stapely to mislead me and “calm” my concern that I was not the only witness against Pinkela, which, in fact, it turned out to be the actual situation. I was the only one. 

4) If the same RAP sheet of sexual partners I have is the same one used in the prosecution, I have more than enough evidence to raise a red flag regarding the validity of Hamilton’s claim, and from what I know, Chris Hamilton is lying. One page listing information with sexual partners only going back a couple years would be enough evidence for me. I was raised by parents who live by the same code of morals and ethics the US Army and Chris Hamilton should be upholding as well. All of this could have been proven with an investigation. I can’t believe that an investigation is missing and a man’s life has been ruined. 

5) I had no knowledge that CPT Stapley, and the US Army, had even brought charges against LTC Pinkela in my name. They even falsified the allegation date (2007) when I was still living in San Diego, CA. When I knew Ken he was HIV negative and therefore the HIV charges were ALL false. 

Ken Pinkela is a human, a soul, and an O5; the same rank as my father when he retired, all of which has made this whole entire ordeal hit close(r) to home. I can’t stop thinking that someone could have made the same accusations against my father and ruined my entire family without any proof and for no reason. Until now, I never would have imagined a branch of the military would do something like this without an adequate investigation and evidence. 

As a Navy “brat” it saddens me to say that, because of this terrible experience and all of the injustices, it has fundamentally changed how I, as a patriotic civilian, the son of a Navy career officer view the US Army and the entire U.S. military and its representatives. 

The day I testified against LTC Pinkela was one of the worst days of my life. I felt terribly guilty, knowing I had been lied to and tricked into ruining the life of a man who did not deserve any such treatment. I went into a downward spiral, not knowing what to do and ultimately going off the deep end, in drugs and alcohol, to try and cope with what I had done. 

Every day had become so unbearable, as I was racked with guilt and furious at the injustice I was unwittingly a party to, that the thought of continuing on in my own life became too much. When alcohol and drugs no longer filled the void, I attempted other, even more destructive, remedies. I continue to live everyday hearing Ken’s mom gasp, in the courtroom, when the judge found Ken guilty. I could not believe what had just happened. 

Fortunately, in a moment of clarity and with support from my family and friends, I was able to piece together the puzzle enough to motivate me to clean up my act and find out more about LTC Pinkela’s case. When I found out there was no investigation, and it was simply the accusation of one soldier against another, with me being manipulated into testifying against Pinkela, I knew I had to do something. 

For Ken’s family, his life and my family and my life, please drop this obscenely unjust case against LTC Pinkela. As the unknowingly primary, and only witness, against him, after being lied to by the Army prosecutor and thereby destroying innocent people's lives in the name of homophobia and HIV-phobia, I believe my request must be heard and acted on. 

My mission in sobriety is to correct a terrible wrong I helped perpetrate, a wrong that reflects poorly on the U.S. Army and the entire military justice system. 

This entire case is NOT what the United States military represents. This case should have NEVER made it to a courtroom, and the way in which the case was “put together” with deceit and lies, is NOT the way any person, or officer, should ever suffer. 

I'm begging you to give this wrongly accused man, and officer, LTC Ken Pinkel, his family and his own life back, so I that I may have my life back as well as demonstrate a respect for admitting when a process has gone so wrong that senior officials can, will and do, have the courage to act and fix a mistake. 

Personally, I also understand that the person reading this may be Eric Fanning; I served you and slung your cocktails for years. I made the connection thanks to Facebook and new position as the Assistant Secretary and maybe new Secretary of the Army. I hope you are well. You may not remember me without seeing me, but because so many people remember my fallout, you may have wondered what could have happened to that guy with so much potential. 

This is what happened to me, Sir. 

This case is wrong and it must be thrown out.  

With Sincere Respect, 

Elliot Scott Henney 

cc: The Honorable Eric K. Fanning, Under Secretary of the Army (Acting)

 General Raymond T. Odierno, Army Chief of Staff 

You can follow Ken on twitter at @kenpinkela

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