The Commonwealth's Attorney's Office for Arlington and Falls Church will proceed with the the sexual battery case against Air Force Lt. Col. Jeffrey Krusinski rather than hand it over to the military for prosecution.
Krusinski, a 41-year-old Arlington man who works at the Pentagon, was charged this weekend by local police after a woman said he groped her in Crystal City parking lot.
Thanks to his position as chief of the U.S. Air Force Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Branch, his face — scraped and cut in a booking photo — appeared in national news stories Monday afternoon. Upon hearing the news, the Air Force removed him from his position.
Gen. Mark Walsh, Air Force Chief of Staff, told U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine on Tuesday that an area Judge Advocate General's office had requested local prosecutors transfer jurisdiction over the case to the military.
Commonwealth's Attorney Theo Stamos, in a phone interview with Patch, said she spoke with Air Force officials on Tuesday and told them that wasn't going to happen.
"It's our prosecution. He's been charged. We have an arraignment set. Our victims services people have reached out to the victim. I don't know why we'd do that," Stamos said.
"It wasn't like it occurred on a military base. It occurred in a civilian setting."
After hearing about the JAG request, Kaine told Air Force officials that prosecutors would have to weigh whether the victim and the accused would receive a fair trial by the military.
Walsh said the Air Force took its statistics — which "are in a little bit of a convoluted equation that comes out of the Department of Defense because of the way we track these things" — and gave them to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, or RAINN, and asked that organization to compare prosecution and conviction rates.
In 2012, the military's prosecution rate was only 1 percent below the national average, and its conviction rate was 3 percent above the national average, he said during an Armed Services Committee hearing.
"One of the issues that seems to come up routinely is this belief that the military does not prosecute as much as a local jurisdiction might," Walsh said, according to video of the hearing distributed by Kaine's office.
"The idea that we don't prosecute shouldn't be a concern of the local prosecutor. The idea that we don't convict shouldn't be a concern of (hers), if we can ensure they all have the facts."
Kaine responded: "Arlington is a pro-military community, so it's not going to be a hostile environment. These are the kinds of things that prosecutors wrestle with."
Stamos told Patch the military could still prosecute Krusinski in its own right. In other words, a local trial wouldn't prevent the Air Force from conducting its own prosecution.
Krusinski's arraignment is scheduled for 2 p.m. Thursday in Arlington County General District Court.
He can appear in court with or without an attorney. He'll be advised of his right to counsel, and a trial date will be set, Stamos set.
Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Cari Steele is handling the case for the prosecution.
Kaine Presses Air Force Officials in Wake of Arlington Sexual Battery Case
Air Force Sex Assault Prevention Chief Charged With Sexual Battery