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Army mechanic acquitted of desertion, guilty of lesser charge

[JURIST] Army mechanic Sgt. Kevin Benderman [defense website] was acquitted Thursday of desertion from a unit heading for duty in Iraq, but was convicted of a lesser charge related to intentionally evading deployment. After applying for conscientious-objector status [PDF DOD directive] 11 days before his unit deployed, Benderman failed to show up when his Third Infantry Division [official website] unit departed. Benderman was sentenced to 15 months in prison, demotion to private, and a dishonorable discharge. The son of a World War II veteran, Benderman was outspoken about his change of mind about war [JURIST report], claiming that during his first 2003 tour in Iraq he had witnessed officers refusing to treat a burn victim and dogs eating corpses at gravesites. Army officials, however, pointed out that Sergeant Benderman did not apply for conscientious-objector status until more than a year after his first tour ended. The New York Times has more.

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