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Justice delayed for Army sergeant who defended Afghan boy from rapist


The old Army adage, “Hurry up and wait,” applies once again to a decorated Green Beret who protected an Afghan boy from a child molester only to see his actions jeopardize his military career.

A decision from the military on the fate of Sgt. First Class Charles Martland was due Tuesday, but now has been put off for a third time, until at least May 1. Martland, an 11-year Special Forces veteran, was stationed in Afghanistan in 2011 when he confronted a local police commander who allegedly had raped a 12-year-old boy.

“Charles did the right thing in Afghanistan by standing up to a child rapist and corrupt commander, and now it’s the Army’s turn to do the right thing and reverse the decision to expel him from the service,”  Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., whose office has been assisting Martland, told earlier this month. “Permitting Charles to continue serving is in the best interest of the Army and the nation.”

Martland is not being discharged specifically for the incident, but having it on his record put him on the chopping block amid ongoing military cuts.

A spokesman for Hunter noted that Vice President Biden appeared with Lady Gaga at the Academy Awards Sunday and spoke out about sexual abuse, urging the crowd to “intervene in situations where consent cannot or has not been given.”

Supporters mounted an online petition backing Martland and, separately, 93 members of Congress have called for an investigation into the military’s silence in the face of rampant sexual abuse of children in Afghanistan.

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