Army instructor accused of latching onto recruit during rescue demonstration
An army instructor appeared before a court martial for allegedly placing his hand on the chest of a recruit during a demonstration of a rescue technique.
The woman claimed that the instructor who was teaching a first aid course to female recruits cupped her chest. The soldier denied the request and told the hearing that he was demonstrating a rescue technique.
The charges revolve around the alleged incident several years ago during a practical demonstration that included the Heimlich maneuver when a person is choking.
The instructor faces four counts, including that of making an alleged inappropriate remark and that of having engaged in conduct prejudicial to good order and discipline contrary to section 168 of the Defense Act. from 1954. He denied all charges.
Reporting restrictions were imposed by Defense Forces military judge Col. Michael Campion, who was presiding over the hearing at McKee Barracks, Dublin. Nothing can be published that would identify the female rookie.
During the hearing, Colonel Campion also ordered the entry not guilty of another charge he said related to a separate alleged incident. The prosecution also entered a nolle prosequi (no prosecution) on a sixth count.
In his testimony, the instructor said he was teaching a first aid course to a group of female recruits and demonstrated hands-on with the recruit as a choking victim.
He said that for the Heimlich maneuver, he placed his left hand high on the rookie’s upper chest to support and stabilize it, as back blows can be powerful. He said he was showing the recruits how to do the Heimlich maneuver.
âIt’s a lifesaving technique, they have to get it,â he said.
Asked by his lawyer David Staunton BL, he cupped the woman’s breast, he replied: âAbsolutely not sir, no. When asked if he intended to do something inappropriate or what constituted an alleged sexual assault, he replied, âAbsolutely not, sir.
The instructor said he leaned the recruit forward to show his students the correct position for the maneuver. When asked how long he spent his arm on the rookie’s chest, he only said a few seconds, about 20 seconds and long enough to demonstrate the technique.
He said he chose to also demonstrate the incorrect method of the Heimlich maneuver where the person helping the choking person stands behind the patient rather than to the side.
Asked by Commander Noel Conway’s lawyer for the Director of Military Prosecutions, whether he agreed that he was crossing the line of what is acceptable as an instruction, the soldier replied, “No, sir.” Another instructor present that day told the court that close contact between the two parties during the Heimlich maneuver was inevitable.
The case continues on Wednesday.