An Army officer assigned to a highly sought-after NATO posting in Belgium was sentenced to dismissal but no prison time on Sunday, after being found guilty of attempting to sexually assault a teenage family member.
Army Lt. Col. Andrew Dial was one of few military officials stationed at Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe, a highly sought-after NATO posting in the Army. He faced three charges in his court-martial on Kleber Kaserne in Kaiserslautern, Germany.
A jury of eight high-ranking uniformed officers found Dial guilty on Saturday of attempted sexual assault, Stars and Stripes first reported. A dismissal, which would lead to a dishonorable discharge, is the mandatory minimum punishment for attempted sexual assault — and less than the 5-year prison sentence the prosecutor requested.
Army Judge Col. Charles Pritchard, who was selected by Dial to decide on a punishment, said that the verdicts were “inconsistent,” wondering how Dial could be guilty of attempted sexual assault if the accused had been found not guilty of touching the family members breasts and genitals.
Pritchard considered his own motion that would deliver a not guilty verdict, Stars and Stripes reported, but decided against it and to allow sentencing to continue.
The incident in question occurred in December 2019, prosecutors said, as Dial and a number of family members visited Disneyland Paris and stayed at a lodge near the resort. In his testimony, Dial said he bought the underage family member, along with his two underage daughters, alcoholic drinks to become intoxicated at the resort’s bar.
When the three girls went to sleep later that night, Dial entered the bedroom seven times over several hours, he testified. But according to testimony from the family member, she accused Dial of touching her breasts and genital areas, while also penetrating her with his finger once.
The family member then woke up Dial’s youngest daughter, who she told about the incident.
Dial’s daughter told her mother, also an Army officer, about the incident. His now ex-wife reported the allegations to the Army’s Criminal Investigation Division.
Zamone “Z” Perez is an editorial fellow at Defense News and Military Times. He previously worked at Foreign Policy and Ufahamu Africa, where he helped produce podcasts. He is a graduate of Northwestern University, where he researched humanitarian intervention and atrocity prevention in his thesis. He can be found on Twitter @zamoneperez.