Air Force Major Acquitted in Sodomy Case

August 16, 1996

Air Force Major Acquitted in Sodomy Case

A military jury in San Antonio, Texas acquitted Air Force major Debra L. Meeks on Thursday of engaging in lesbian sex with a civilian, according to reports.

Meeks, 41, was charged with sodomy for her alleged involvement in a two-year homosexual relationship with Pamela Dillard. She was also charged with conduct unbecoming of an officer for supposedly threatening Dillard with a gun.

Defense lawyer Michael Tigar successfully argued that the plaintiff brought up false accusations against Meeks because she was intent on ruining the major's military career. Dillard, the prosecution's main witness, testified that her relationship with Meeks, which began in 1992 and continued even after the Air Force major transferred to Lackland Air Force Base in Texas, was "intense," and involved oral sex. Dillard also claimed that Meeks sent her letters and cards about their relationship.

Tigar pointed out that written words weren't evidence of sodomy, and maintained that as long as the jury believed homosexual sex had not taken place, even if they thought Meeks to be a lesbian, it would be obliged to acquit her.

According to the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy, gays and lesbians may serve in the armed forces as long as they keep their sexual orientation a private matter and do not have intercourse with military personnel.

The military did initially offer Meeks a plea bargain in which she would have been able to plead guilty to an assault charge. Meeks refused, risking the loss of all her military benefits and the possibilty of facing up to eight years in jail. Though she has won the case, the major refuses to publicly comment on her sexual orientation.

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