The first full-fledged Army court-martial stemming from the sex scandal at Maryland's Aberdeen Proving Ground begins this week, but three U.S. military personnel accused of sexual wrongdoing have already exacted the ultimate in self-inflicted punishment: suicide. Private Alan May, 22, hanged himself in his Aberdeen barracks on Jan. 4, three days before he was to face a rape charge. Staff Sergeant Michael Thompson, 31, of Fort Detrick, Maryland, took his life on Feb. 24, three days after being questioned by Army investigators about a female soldier's complaint that he had indecently assaulted her. The case involved a two-year-old incident that surfaced only after soldiers were told to report episodes of unwanted touching.
The third and most recent occurrence involved a 41-year-old Air Force lieutenant colonel based at Scott Air Force Base in Illinois, charged with two counts of adultery and one count each of sodomy and fraternization. As a result of a pretrial agreement, the 19-year veteran, who was separated from her husband and two daughters, pleaded guilty to one count of fraternization at her March 11 court-martial. The Air Force booted her out of the service one year before she would have been eligible for a pension. After her lawyer expressed concern that she might be suicidal, the Air Force provided her with a mental-health worker. But on March 16, while her parents were at church and she was in the home they shared, she killed herself with a single shotgun blast to the head.
--By Mark Thompson