MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A military judge properly tossed a soldier out of the Wisconsin Army National Guard for soliciting sex from young recruits, a state appeals court ruled Thursday.
The ruling from the 4th District Court of Appeals in the case of former Sgt. Jesse Riemer states it’s the first time a Wisconsin state court has dealt with a court martial. A law that calls for court-martial convictions to go to the state appellate courts apparently had never been triggered before Riemer asked for a review of his sentence.
According to court documents, military prosecutors accused Riemer of soliciting sex from young female recruits between 2012 and 2014. The allegations included soliciting threesomes, suggesting to one of the women that he should take a picture of a tattoo on her buttocks, broadcasting on the internet the sexual intercourse he had with one of them and maintaining a relationship with another while he was married, according to the documents.
He pleaded guilty to six counts of using his rank for personal gain, maltreatment of a subordinate and discrediting Wisconsin’s military forces. Military Judge David Klauser sentenced him to 30 days confinement and a bad-conduct discharge. Wisconsin National Guard Adjutant General Donald Dunbar upheld the sentence.
Riemer argued the sentence was unduly harsh and Klauser was biased against him.
Riemer argued the court should apply federal military law to the case and give no deference to the sentencing judge’s decision. The state appeals court refused, saying Wisconsin judges lack military judges’ knowledge and expertise, and that it wouldn’t be practical to apply military standards.
The court ruled 3-0 that the military judge’s sentence was appropriate. He could have gotten a maximum sentence of five years and three months confinement along with a dishonorable discharge, the court noted.
Judge JoAnne Kloppenburg wrote that the military judge also gave a reasonable explanation of the sentence. She cited his comments that as a recruiter Reimer had a responsibility to represent the Wisconsin National Guard well.
Riemer instead took advantage of his position and used it to prey on vulnerable young people who were trying to find an identity for themselves, the judge said.
Riemer’s attorney, listed in court documents as Illinois Army National Guard Capt. Declan Benninger, didn’t immediately return telephone messages seeking comment on the ruling.