Airman found guilty of child abuse

Airman found guilty of child abuse -- Airman Jason A. Pate, 35th Logistics Readiness Squadron, Misawa Air Base, Japan was found guilty at a general court-martial held at Misawa Air Base on August 17, 2012 of intentionally maiming and causing serious bodily injuries to his 3-month-old son.

A panel of officer and enlisted court members served as the jury for the one-week trial and found Pate guilty of intentionally causing a substantially permanent injury to his son by subjecting his son's head to force causing brain damage. Pate was also found guilty of inflicting serious bodily injuries to his son by causing multiple rib fractures and damage to his liver.

Pate was sentenced to seven years confinement, a bad conduct discharge, total forfeiture of all pay and allowances and a reduction to E-1. His confinement will be spent in a high-security federal penitentiary.

The Misawa Office of Special Investigations began investigating Pate on September 10, 2011, the day after his son was rushed to the Misawa Urgent Care Clinic and then Hachinohe City Hospital after sustaining life-threatening injuries.

The urgent care physicians at the Misawa UCC and Hachinohe City Hospital suspected his son's injuries resulted from non-accidental trauma consistent with child abuse. Later medical examinations revealed he had bleeding in several portions of his brain, rib fractures of various ages, liver damage and retinal hemorrhages, injuries often associated with Shaken Baby Syndrome.

"Airman Pate confessed to the Air Force Office of Special Investigations that he had squeezed his son's chest very hard on at least one occasion and that Pate likely broke his ribs when he did this," said Maj. Jed Dorman, 35th Fighter Wing Deputy Staff Judge Advocate. "The amount of injuries his son suffered indicated that he had suffered from a pattern of abuse."

After conducting a thorough investigation that spanned over several months that included witness interviews, OSI had enough information to rule out other suspects and push the case to the legal office, Dorman added. The investigation helped bring a large amount of evidence that aided in finding Pate guilty.

This was the second general court-martial held at Misawa Air Base within the last three months. On May 17, 2012, Staff Sgt. Keith L. Lovely, also formerly assigned to the 35th Logistics Readiness Squadron, was found guilty of causing the death of his one-year old son.