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Back in the Brig

Former Air Force Academy cadet DonCosta Seawell was returned to a military correctional facility on February 9 -- just 42 days after his release.

Seawell had been sent to the Naval Consolidated Brig Miramar in San Diego in 2002 after pleading guilty to forcibly sodomizing a disabled civilian woman. (Two female cadets later accused him of raping them, but Seawell was never punished for those alleged crimes.)

Seawell was sentenced to eighteen months and was released on December 29 after having some time knocked off for good conduct. The Air Force Clemency and Parole Board then placed him on mandatory supervised release (MSR), a program started by the Department of Defense in July 2001 to provide additional oversight of inmates following their release from prison.

At this time, the Air Force is unable to provide details on the conditions of Seawell's supervision or on any of the reasons leading to his return, but Air Force spokeswoman Jennifer Stephens explained in writing that "Mr. Seawell was returned to the Miramar Brig due to allegations he violated the conditions of his MSR. These allegations are still being investigated, and until that process is completed we do not release specifics."

Whether it had anything to do with an allegation that Seawell was propositioning an adult posing as a fourteen-year-old girl in a regional Internet chat room is unknown. On January 15, a 25-year-old Colorado Springs man going by the screen name the_donjuan02 asked the fake Denver teen to have sex with him. Adults working for the vigilante anti-pedophile website perverted-justice.com discovered photos of Seawell wearing an AFA sweatshirt on the_donjuan02 Yahoo profile, along with links to academy Web pages containing photos of Seawell boxing. The group promptly exposed him on its site ("Where Are They Now?" January 29, 2004).

Richard Miklick, chief probation officer for U.S. District Court in Denver, can't discuss Seawell's case, but he explains that "how closely we supervise people depends on the nature of the offense and on the conditions imposed by the military." Usually, he says, federal probation officers visit military supervisees at their homes and at work.

Brewster Schenck, administrative director of the Miramar Brig, says Seawell would have remained in prison until April 15 had he not been let go on his "minimum release date" in December for "good-conduct time." But he doesn't know whether Seawell's original sentence will now be adjusted. Because the investigation into Seawell's alleged violations is ongoing, writes the Air Force's Stephens, "Mr. Seawell has not been asked in a formal hearing to confirm or deny the allegations.

"A supervision violation proceeding is not a new trial, but a forum to determine whether or not the 'supervisee' violated a condition of supervision," Stephens's written response continues. "If it determines Mr. Seawell violated one or more of his conditions of supervision, the Air Force Clemency and Parole Board will determine the appropriate response to that conduct. One of the alternatives could be to decide part or all of Mr. Seawell's time 'on the street' should not [be] credited towards his period of MSR supervision."

 
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