Supreme Court Rules 8-0 In Allen’s Favor To Hold Her Military Rapist Accountable
Mast Convinced The Solicitor General To Bring The Case Before The Supreme Court
The Supreme Court of the United States today ruled 8-0 in favor of Port. St. Lucie resident and rape survivor Harmony Allen. This unanimous ruling overturns a previous decision that allowed convicted military rapists to be set free on a misconstrued technicality. The Supreme Court agreed to hear Allen’s case after Congressman Brian Mast (FL-18) urged the Solicitor General to take up the case and bring it before the Supreme Court. Rep. Mast also filed an amicus brief in support of Allen’s case.
“This has been a long and difficult journey, but today’s ruling finally brings me peace. For years, I had to live with the fact that my rapist was set free with nothing stopping him from doing to another innocent woman what he did to me,” Harmony Allen said. “Today’s decision changes that, and after all these years, I can finally take a deep breath knowing that justice has been served.”
Allen was raped during her third month in the Air Force by her instructor. Despite being found guilty and sentenced to jail time, the instructor was subsequently freed due to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces misinterpreting the Congressionally-mandated statute of limitations. The justices unanimously decided today that there is not a 5-year statute of limitation for rape charges and convictions in the military.
“Harmony Allen has been relentless in her fight for justice to hold her rapist accountable for the crimes he committed, and I am proud to stand by her today in victory. This was no easy fight, but we gave it everything we had for years – writing Harmony’s Law, urging the Solicitor General to take up the case and securing a Supreme Court hearing. Today’s decision is a monumental one, and it serves a justice that was long overdue,” Rep. Mast said. “I could not be happier for Harmony Allen and her family knowing that this massive miscarriage of justice has been righted once and for all.”
Despite Congress making its intent clear in the National Defense Authorization Acts (NDAA) of Fiscal Years 1987 and 2006 that heinous offenses, including rape, will have no statute of limitations in the military, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces ruled in U.S. v. Mangahas that the statute of limitations for sexual assaults that occurred before 2006 is five years. In doing so, the Court incorrectly overruled the military’s standard in place from 1986 to 2006 that rape could “be tried and punished at any time without limitation” and misinterpreted the Congressional intent of the 2006 NDAA by failing to apply it to cases that occurred prior to 2006.
As a result, starting in 2018, convicted sexual offenders in the military were able to appeal their convictions and be set free if they committed the offense before 2006 but were not charged within 5 years. Two convictions had been overturned, including Harmony Allen’s case, and there are dozens more still in the appellate queue. As a result of the Supreme Court’s decision today, Allen’s rapist will be sent back to prison. The decision also prevents the potential early release of hundreds of convicted rapists from their sentence.
Timeline of Events:
- In April 2019, Rep. Mast introduced Harmony’s Law to prevent these convicted military rapists from being freed on a misconstrued technicality.
- In June 2019, Rep. Mast urged the Solicitor General to file a petition for a writ of certiorari to review Allen’s case, safeguarding the integrity of Congress’s intent and ensuring that victims of sexual assault in the military receive justice.
- In November 2019, the Supreme Court granted certiorari in United States v. Collins, agreeing to hear Allen’s case.
- In January 2020, Rep. Mast filed an amicus curiae brief to the Supreme Court in support of Allen’s case.
- In October 2020, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments for Allen’s case.