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    US Military Didn’t Search for Soldier Charged With Rape After He Went AWOL

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    A military serviceman who went AWOL after learning he was suspected of raping a 15-year-old girl was not sought by the US Army, and was only caught by chance while he was in a vehicle with another “barely 14-year-old” girl with his pants down.

    Army Pvt. Jameson T. Hazelbower, 24, a self-described “sex addict,” was arrested by local police in Winnebago, Illinois, in March of 2014, after being caught with the girl.

    Despite knowing that Hazelbower was a violent sexual predator and public safety risk, the military made no attempt to find him. In a warrant issued by the Army, Hazelbower is described as a "sexually violent predator.” It was also not the first time he had deserted, and "CAUTION — ESCAPE RISK" had been stamped on the document.

    The man’s criminal history dates to his high school years, when he was accused of stalking an ex girlfriend. In 2009, the parents of the girl obtained an emergency protection order to keep him away from her.

    Two years later, Hazelbower enlisted in the Army and, in 2014, was suspected of raping a 15-year-old girl. The young teen testified at his court-martial that she had met him on social media where he had listed himself as 16 years old. She testified that he had driven her to a remote area in Fort Campbell and sexually assaulted her. She explained that she was frightened and did not know where she was, but that the more she struggled, the tighter he held onto her, so that eventually she stopped resisting.

    The Army also found evidence that he had raped a 14-year-old girl months before, sending that victim messages over Skype stating that he “enjoyed raping her.”

    Police identified two additional victims in Illinois and three more in the Fort Campbell area.

    For the assaults in Illinois, Hazelbower pleaded guilty to aggravated criminal sexual abuse and indecent solicitation of a child, in civil court, and was given 30 months of probation.

    In May of 2015, he was found guilty by a military judge of child rape, possession of child pornography, sexual abuse of a child, desertion and other charges. He was sentenced to 50 years in prison.

    Hazelbower is now being held at the Disciplinary Barracks at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. The Army has made no comment concerning their lack of pursuit, which could have prevented him from additional violent sexual crimes. Under current law, he will be eligible for release from prison after serving one-third of his 50 year sentence.

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    Tags:
    Rape, US Military, US Army, Jameson T. Hazelbower, Fort Campbell, Fort Leavenworth, Winnebago, Illinois
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