A military judge on Friday denied a motion to dismiss a rape charge against an Air Force Academy graduate, leaving the case where it was a year ago when he halted it because of a therapist’s refusal to turn over the accuser’s medical records.
Col. David Brash halted the court-martial of Capt. Joseph Harding in June 2005 because Jennifer Bier, the accuser’s civilian therapist, would not hand over the documents. Harding is accused of raping the woman at the Colorado academy in 2000. He maintains his innocence.
Harding’s lawyers this week asked Brash to throw out the charge, saying the delay has not allowed a timely resolution of the case.
Brash wrote that Harding’s right to a speedy trial wasn’t denied, but he called Bier’s refusal “in no way legitimate, if not unlawful.” He also chastised the government for not getting the documents.
Justice Department attorney John DePue testified Friday by phone that Brash’s warrant was executed when U.S. marshals went to Bier’s office and asked for her records and she refused. He said the order didn’t provide for Bier to be brought before the court or for marshals to search her office.
DePue said his office has been looking at alternatives but had found none.
The case will be on hold until the records are obtained.
Speaking from Colorado, Bier said she was disappointed and maintained that she won’t turn over the documents, going to jail to protect them if necessary.
Randolph Air Force Base spokeswoman Capt. Heather Kekic said military prosecutors don’t comment during ongoing cases.
Harding, now married, has been placed on administrative hold at a Mississippi base and was unable to finish his pilot training.
The case grew out of the academy’s 2003 assault scandal, which prompted several investigations and toppled the school’s top commanders.