FORT HOOD (June 4, 2014) A recommendation about whether Fort Hood Sgt. 1st Class Gregory McQueen, who’s accused of setting up a prostitution ring with cash-strapped female soldiers, should face a court-martial was pending Wednesday after a two-day hearing on post.
A series of witnesses linked the former coordinator of a sexual assault prevention program at Fort Hood to the ring during the Article 32 hearing, which started Tuesday.
An Article 32 hearing is the military equivalent of a civilian grand jury review.
Six witnesses testified Wednesday, the first of whom was an Army sergeant who worked with McQueen in the Sexual Harassment, Assault and Response Program at Fort Hood.
The SHARP program was created to help sexual assault and harassment victims.
"He was not accountable at times. It really put a strain on training," the witness testified.
"It was a shock. It was a definite blow."
McQueen’s actions left soldiers too afraid to report to senior leaders, the witness testified.
"This particular incident completely destroyed the confidence of the program," the witness said. "There's no trust in leadership. The program's compromised."
Sgt. 1st Class Brad Grimes also testified.
Grimes was convicted in December of conspiring to patronize a prostitute and solicitation to commit adultery.
He testified Wednesday he was going through a tough time in his marriage when McQueen approached him and showed him cell phone photos of a nude, young female soldier.
"He said, 'I have a friend that I can hook you up with,'" he testified.
"In my mind, when he showed me the picture it was nude, it was for sex."
Grimes said he paid for a room at the La Quinta Inn in Killeen where he planned to have sex with the woman in exchange for money.
But Grimes said he instead broke into tears in his vehicle in the hotel parking lot, and told the woman he couldn't go through with it.
Grimes confirmed with the court that he was in emotional distress at the time.
Prosecutors Wednesday also called back to the stand a female witness who testified earlier that McQueen recruited her to have sex with other soldiers.
"I didn't necessarily want to do it, but I did,” she said.
On Tuesday she testified that McQueen approached her when she was 20 years old and was having problems paying her student loans and buying food for her 3-year-old child.
She said McQueen told her to send pictures of herself to him so he could find other higher-ranking soldiers who wanted to have sex with her in exchange for money.
The witness said McQueen also came to her on-post home and asked her to "act out" on him what she would do with the soldiers who wanted to have sex with her for money.
The witness testified that she and McQueen had sexual intercourse at her home in 2013 and said she had lied to the Army Criminal Investigation Division about that until she received immunity in the case.
She described an encounter she had with Grimes and said Grimes paid her $100 to have sex with him, she also said the two later had sex again at her home on post.
She said she later bought groceries for her and her child with the money Grimes had paid her.
She said she was still married during all of these encounters.
An Army Criminal Investigation Division agent testified Wednesday via telephone that he analyzed cellphones and laptops owned by McQueen, and others involved where he found illicit photos and messages.
McQueen chose not to make a statement following the testimony.
The prosecution concluded Wednesday that the problem deals with single senior NCO's and struggling subordinate female soldiers.
"We believe you have enough evidence, the offense was committed and should move forward to trial," prosecutors said.
The defense argued, however, that the government over-charged the case, and pointed out that six of 10 witnesses were granted immunity to testify against McQueen.
Investigating Officer Lt. Col. James Varley will weigh the evidence, and then make his recommendation to the court-martial convening authority, Brig. Gen. Clark W. LeMasters, Jr., commander, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary).
Should Lemaster order a court-martial, McQueen can chose whether the case will be heard by a judge or a military jury.
Initial charges were filed in March against McQueen, who was under investigation for “abusive sexual contact” and other alleged misconduct.
The filing alleges 21 specifications of charges related to pandering, conspiracy, maltreatment of a subordinate, abusive sexual contact, adultery and conduct of a nature to bring discredit to the armed forces, Fort Hood said.
McQueen was identified in May 2013 as the focus of an investigation.
The Army said at the time he had been suspended from all duties.
He was assigned as an equal opportunity adviser and coordinator of a sexual harassment-assault prevention program at III Corps headquarters at Fort Hood when the allegations arose.
A defense official said at the time that the allegations involved three women and that an arrangement had been made for one of them to have sex for money, although it wasn’t clear whether she was forced into prostitution.