Guilty plea brings rank reduction, bad conduct discharge
by Alan Riquelmy, Columbus Ledger-Enquirer, posted May 24, 2006


Former Army Spc. Katherine Jashinski, a conscientious objector, cried before her sentence of four-months confinement was handed down, according to one witness at her court-martial.

“She was in tears,” said Camilo Mejia, treasurer of Iraq Veterans Against the War, who attended Jashinski’s Tuesday trial. “The entire mood of the courtroom changed.”

Jashinski, reduced to the rank of private first class after a series of offenses, received a 120-day sentence and a bad conduct discharge after she pleaded guilty to willfully disobeying a lawful order of a superior commissioned officer. She was found not guilty of missing movement by design, said Monica Manganaro, public affairs officer at Fort Benning.

The judge gave Jashinski 53 days credit for a previous administrative punishment she received, leaving her 67 days to serve, which began Tuesday, Manganaro said. Jashinski is currently being held at the Harris County Jail, though she will be moved to military confinement in a few days.

“Even though she hadn’t spent any time in jail before, he took all that into consideration and equated that into 53 days of jail time credit,” Manganaro said.

Jashinski, a member of the Army National Guard, could have received a dishonorable discharge, the forfeiture of her pay and allowances and up to five years of confinement for the guilty plea. She could have received the same for the missing movement by design charge, except it would have been up to two years.

Jashinski is still in the Army and won’t receive her bad conduct discharge until after the appeal process, Manganaro said.

The events that led to Tuesday’s sentence had their beginnings in Texas, where Jashinski served in the Texas Army National Guard and as an Army cook. Jashinski fought deployment to Afghanistan and sought a military discharge, though a U.S. District Court judge in San Antonio denied her in November a temporary restraining order that would have delayed her deployment to join her unit already overseas. She reported to Fort Benning the next week for weapons training.

In November, Manganaro said Jashinski refused an order to fire a weapon, which brought 45 days of extra duty, 45 days of restriction and the reduction in rank.

Jashinski publicly declared her conscientious objector status at November’s SOA Watch protest in Columbus.

Over the next few weeks Jashinski refused to fire a weapon on two other separate occasions.

Those refusals, Manganaro said, led to the April issue court-martial charges.

Manganaro said she didn’t know of any other soldiers being held at Fort Benning for similar charges at the current time.

Jashinski will return to school at The University of Texas at Austin after her time is served and continue work with the Austin GI Right hotline, according to the Iraq Veterans Against the War.