Patrick J. McLain, Judge Advocate and Attorney at Law

US Military Members Ousted by Ashley Madison – Will There Be Legal Penalties?

Will military members who commit adultery face criminal penalties?


Dallas, TX -- (ReleaseWire) -- 09/04/2015 --In most states in the nation, including the state of Texas, committing adultery is not a crime. However, the military of the United States—although not directly—does consider adulterous acts as criminal activity. With the recent release of approximately 10,000 military members' email addresses in association with the adulterous site Ashley Madison, some military members are wondering whether or not they'll face military penalties.

For those whose names have been released and are in need of legal counsel, a military defense advocate is key:

Prohibition of Adultery By U.S. Military Law

While it may be archaic, the U.S. military upholds a section of the Uniform Code of Military Justice that prohibits, "all disorders and neglects to the prejudice of good order and discipline in the armed forces, all conduct of nature to bring discredit upon the armed forces…" The code continues to name specific offenses, adultery being one of them. Furthermore, the law reads that if the code is violated, the violation may result in a punishment by court-martial.

Article 134, Chapter 60 of the Manual for Court Martial covers the offense of adultery. According to the article, three elements of proof must be satisfied in order to prove adultery. These are:

- That the accused had sexual intercourse with a person;

- That at the time of the sexual act, the accused person was married to another person (other than the person with whom they had sex); and

- That under the circumstances, the act of adultery "was to the prejudice of good order and discipline in the armed forces."

Criminal Penalties for Military Members Caught on Ashley Madison

With the release of so many military members' information in association with the Ashley Madison hack, the question of whether or not these military members will be court-martialed is looming. However, according to Victor Hansen, a former military prosecutor and defense attorney, it's unlikely that most—if any—of the troops would receive a court martial and or/and the maximum penalty for adultery, which is up to one year in prison and a dishonorable discharge. According to Hansen, it's more likely that affected military members will be quietly retired. In fact, even when adultery is committed, penalties are typically only imposed if it can be proven that the adulterous act brought discredit upon the armed forces.

If You're Facing a Military Court Martial

For those named in the Ashley Madison hack and who are worried about facing criminal penalties based on their status as members of the U.S. military, seek the help of a military defense attorney today.

About The Law Office of Patrick J. Mclain, PLLC
THE LAW OFFICE OF PATRICK J. MCLAIN, PLLC is a Dallas-based law firm specializing in criminal and military defense. Judge Advocate and Attorney at Law Patrick J. McLain has worked as a federal crimes lawyer for over 25 years.