Former defense secretary: Slain Santa Cruz police paid for military slip
Panetta stated that military officials 'looked the other way' rather than punish a troubled soldier who became a killer
By Josh Richman
SAN JOSE, Calif. — Some U.S. military officials "looked the other way" rather than aggressively pursuing rape charges against a sexually troubled soldier who ended up killing two Santa Cruz police officers last week, former U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said at the officers' funeral Thursday.
Experts say Panetta's unusually strong words — which implied that the military justice system might share some blame for the officers' deaths — highlight the ongoing push to change a military culture that has given rise to an epidemic of sexual assault.
Jeremy Goulet, whose 2006 Army court martial in Hawaii for two purported rapes of military officers ended with a plea bargain in which he accepted an "other-than-honorable" discharge, shot and killed two officers investigating a new groping accusation against Goulet on Feb. 26. Had Goulet been convicted of the two rapes, he probably would have landed in a military prison for life.