An openly gay U.S. Air Force lieutenant and prominent gay rights activist who co-founded the LGBT service members’ advocacy group OutServe, is facing three counts of sexual assault charges brought by another gay service member.
Lt. Joshua Seefried, 28, is tentatively scheduled to go on trial in a court-martial next month at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland on charges of wrongful sexual contact, forcible sodomy, and abusive sexual contact.
Lou Chibbaro Jr. at the Washington Blade reports that the charges stem from an accusation by U.S. Marine Lt. Edgar Luna that Seefried allegedly performed sexual acts on him in a hotel room in New York City in May 2012 at a time when Luna says he was intoxicated and unable to give consent.
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Sources familiar with the Seefried case said the sexual assault allegations swirling over his head emerged from a weekend gathering in New York City in May 2012 of seven junior gay military officers from across the country and a straight female friend who participated in Fleet Week, an annual event in which Navy and sometimes Coast Guard ships dock in a major U.S. city, including New York.
The gay officers, who were from all branches of the military, were also celebrating the repeal a few months earlier of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law and the behind-the-scenes effort by several of them, including Seefried, to push for the repeal, those familiar with the gay officers said.
People who know Seefried say that in June 2012, about a month after the alleged sexual assault took place in New York, Luna appeared to be on friendly terms with Seefried, exchanging text messages with him and accepting an invitation by Seefried to join him and others at a White House LGBT Pride month reception, which President Obama attended.
The friends have expressed surprise that Luna shortly after the White House reception chose to implicate Seefried in the sexual assault.
In 2009, prior to the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” Seefried organized LGBT active-duty military personnel into an underground association OutServe. The group eventually merged with Servicemembers Legal Defense Network to become Outserve-SLDN, and currently has over 7,000 members and 80 chapters worldwide.