Honored Navy chaplain faces multiple sexual-offense counts
Story Extras--> Lt. Shane R. Dillman
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--> The Virginian-Pilot
© July 26, 2008
By Kate Wiltrout and Kathy Adams
A chaplain who won awards for ministering to wounded troops and who escorted President Bush around the Navy's flagship hospital could be court-martialed on a range of charges, including multiple counts of adultery and fraternization.
Navy lawyers laid out their case against Lt. Shane R. Dillman in an Article 32 hearing, similar to a preliminary hearing in civilian court, Thursday and Friday at Norfolk Naval Station.
Prosecutors painted Dillman as an officer who repeatedly manipulated young enlisted women, abused his position of trust, and solicited vulnerable sailors for dates and sex.
The defense presented a far different picture: a professional, caring chaplain who went out of his way to help troubled sailors and who won honors for his work with wounded combat vets.
Charles Gittins, Dillman's civilian defense lawyer, said that charges of rape and using the threat of physical injury to solicit sex should be dropped, because the acts were consensual.
He downplayed allegations of fraternization and adultery.
"Manipulation of a woman to sexual intercourse because you're a good conversationalist is not a crime," Gittins said in his closing statement. "It happens every day."
Four junior enlisted women testified about their relationships with Dillman, a Pentecostal minister who is married with children and lives in Williamsburg.
Three of the women served with Dillman on the aircraft carrier Carl Vinson, which is being refueled at Northrop Grumman Newport News.
The fourth, a petty officer third class, testified by phone from Iraq, where she is serving as a hospital corpsman.