Cmdr. John Michael Neuhart II and the meaning of ‘No’

| December 7, 2017 | 77 Comments

Someone sends us a link on Stars & Stripes about Cmdr. John Michael Neuhart II who commanded a helicopter squadron in Guam until he came to San Diego for a conference last year. He went out for drinks with his fellow conference attendees, which was his first mistake. One of the people there had been in his squadron until she transferred to San Diego to be flight instructor.

Security video from the downtown Manchester Grand Hyatt hotel, where they were drinking, was shown in court. The woman can be seen staggering, barely standing up at some points, with Neuhart’s arm around her as they walk down a hall and use an elevator.

She testified earlier in the trial that she became very drunk and ended up taking a ride-share or cab with Neuhart to her Valencia Park home. She said he pulled off her pants and nearly raped her as she repeatedly screamed at him to stop and leave.

Neuhart testified Tuesday and Wednesday that they discussed having sex at her house before they left the hotel. He said he “waffled” about it because he is married, with five children, and because he was her superior officer — a violation of military fraternization rules.

Always go with that “waffle” feeling, unfortunately, our hero didn’t.

After letting Neuhart into her house, where they kissed and hugged, she ordered him out. He went around to the back door and set up his cellphone to record on video his repeated efforts to get inside again. Neuhart testified that he did so to have proof that, if they had sex, it was consensual.

Yeah, if you need to video a sexual encounter to prove it was consensual, you know things are going badly. He told the court that he thought “no” meant “yes”. He’s toast.

Category: Navy

Comments (77)

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  1. ChipNASA says:

    Dumbass jerkoff.

    Blue Falcon + Waffling = Blue Waffle

    NSFW or LUNCH. DO. NOT. GOOGLE. (If you don’t already know what it is)

  2. Martinjmpr says:

    Did someone photoshop that hair in? Because if that is his official Navy photo, then there are more problems with the modern military than I thought.

  3. Duane says:

    Before I retired, as a Senior NCO, I won’t even begin to try to estimate how many briefings and how many hours I had to listen to someone prattle on about this kind of behavior. Maybe, just maybe, someone needs to take a good, hard look at the Senor Officers and spend the time with them instead of the enlisted force? Not saying it hasn’t or won’t happen with the lower ranks, but it sure seems like the upper ranks have skated out of the briefings.

    • Ret_25X says:

      If I had a dollar for every time we had to endure hours long nonsense over some behavior I would not need to work now.

      As for senior officers skating out…my peers were worse…many acted as if this stuff doesn’t even happen.

      Usually just before they met up with their junior enlisted conquest of the week…..

      • A Proud Infidel®™ says:

        I hear you, I din’t know HOW many times I had to sit through a death by Power Point briefing on that with repeated “No means no” and here we see yet another goddamned FIELD GRADE Officer thinking with his dick like a Washington DC Politician such as Al Franken or “Blowjob Willie” Clinton.

  4. Sapper3307 says:

    I am still trying to figure out the definition of “is” from Bill Clinton.

  5. CCO says:

    And if she’s that drunk (or just drunk), she can’t give consent under UCMJ (the last I heard), de juro rape, a capital crime. Hang him.

    Okay, attempted rape. Flog him and kick him out. If his wife wants to keep him, she can wait until he gets out of prison for: attempted rape, intent to commit adultery, drunkenness in public, conduct unbecoming, fraternizing, behavior contrary to good order and discipline, damage to military property (breaking his leg while running from the police), burglary, non-consensual videotaping of a female officer in her private residence, disturbing the peace (woke up the neighbors), and embarrassing the rest of us who kept our noses clean.

    • Graybeard says:

      Just wondering – if a woman is held to be not accountable for her actions due to an excess of alcohol, why is a man in a similar state held accountable for his actions?

      If they were talking about having sex in the bar, and both were soused, either they are both accountable, or neither is accountable, when one party attempts to follow through on the action they had been talking about taking.

      Should he be held accountable for adultery and conduct unbecoming? I think so.

      But she should be held just as accountable.

      No double standards here, either.

      • CCO says:

        Your point about both or neither being accountable is logical. I don’t know if the UCMJ has been re-written to be gender neutral in this regard.

        Regardless, I’m not inclined to give this individual any breaks, particularly when he was reasoning well enough to record their encounter to have evidence for later. One could infer that he was not impaired at this point. I would guess that he was still too impaired to drive (or fly) as his body had not had time to process all the alcohol, but I don’t really know, since I don’t know how much he drank how big is, etc.

      • OWB says:

        Would guess that “No” coming from either one of them stops the transaction in spite of any prior agreement. If there was prior agreement.

        Kinda sounds like she might have been slipped something to encourage impairment. Not that conjecture is helpful – there is plenty to nail this guy on without adding unknown factors.

      • REddevil says:

        Accountable for what, exactly?

        She wasn’t on duty. She didnt drive drunk. She did not fraternize. She never consented to have sex- his whole story about a safe word is clearly nonsense. If they’d had consensual sex and she later changed her mind you might have a point, but that is not T all what happened.

        Dude straight up tried to rape her. Case closed.

        • Graybeard says:

          She claims now that he tried to rape her.
          He claims that they talked about having sex while at the hotel, then went to her house.

          Video shows she was staggering.

          OK, so far, so good.

          According to S&S’s article “After letting Neuhart into her house, where they kissed and hugged, she ordered him out. He went around to the back door and set up his cellphone to record on video his repeated efforts to get inside again.”

          She let him into her house, kissed & hugged him, and then ordered him out. Which, evidently, he did. But then for reasons unclear tried to get back in.

          Now, if she is drunk, she is not thinking clearly about her actions. But, if he is drunk, he is not thinking clearly about his actions, either.

          She is schmoozing and boozing with a guy and, evidently, talking about engaging in a bit of hanky-panky with him. He is schmoozing and boozing with her, goes along with it.

          He made a bad decision, based on the booze most likely, to follow the little head.
          She made a bad decision to let him into her house after she’s been talking with him about getting boinked by him.

          Both are impaired by alcohol at this point. Both are making bad decisions.
          Why should she get off scot free for encouraging immoral actions and even letting him into her house? If a woman is talking about having sex with you, and lets you into her house, is she totally innocent if you decide that she really wants to get naked with you?

          Both need to be held to the same level of accountability. For a woman to be able to say “Changed my mind the next morning, he raped me” when the guy had reasons to believe it was consensual is just flat wrong.

          This guy stepped on it in more ways than one – but much of that stupidity could be assigned to the booze. If she gets excused for her booze-stupid move of letting him in the house to start with, why doesn’t he have at least some mitigation of responsibility for his booze-stupid move of trying to get back in?

          Of course the way to keep from getting into such a situation in the first place is to never get drunk and never screw someone your not married to. While that would be wise, there are a lot of fools in this world. Holding both fools to the same standards of accountability is only right.

          • David says:

            Gotta disagree on one point – booze rarely creates – it just reveals what was there in the first place. Blaming the alcohol for his actions is like blaming a rape on her short skirt, an excuse for a bad or criminal decision on someone’s part..

            • Graybeard says:

              And I did not intend to say or imply that, David.

              What alcohol has been proven to do is suppress the portion of our brains that inhibits us acting on impulses.

              This should be common knowledge at this point.

              Knowing myself, I am attracted to a pretty woman, and even find them sexually desirable. Being sober-minded I restrain my impulse to pursue these pretty women – especially at my age. That’s just an ugly picture.

              Given sufficient booze and a pretty woman who is signaling an attraction to me (yeah, she’d have to be really really drunk and desperate, I know) my restraint could slip and I could allow myself to become sexually involved with her.

              One reason that I only take one drink in a 24-hour period, and that when I am at home. And I do not allow myself to be alone with a pretty woman.

              What my argument is is that if both are drinking and impaired by booze, then both need to be held to the same level of accountability.

              I despise the argument “She was drunk so she could not consent” while the one making that argument also holds “he was drunk but he is responsible for his actions.”

              Bull hockey. If both of them are stupid enough to get drunk and get naked when they would not do that sober, then either neither is culpable, or both are culpable.

              Of course, the best way to avoid such career-killing moves in the first place is to keep out of the situation to begin with. Don’t get drunk, and don’t sleep with someone you are not married to.

              • 11B-Mailclerk says:

                Are you -really- conflating:

                Too drunk to give consent


                To drunk to restrain criminal actions?


                So if they are -both- drunk, it can’t be rape?

                Seriously? Do you see the “gates of hell” sized door that would open?

                Or, another way, would you ever again consume -one- drink with a male colleague who -might- be gay?


                • Graybeard says:

                  No, friend, I’m not.

                  I am not, and ought not to be read as, defending Cmdr. J.M. Neuhart II.

                  It is questionable whether it was attempted rape – although his actions certainly don’t help him any, and attempting to force his way back in the house was beyond stupid if not downright criminal in intent.

                  But I am saying that if we defend her because she was under the influence of alcohol, saying that she was incapable of making sound, reasoned decisions then why in the world do we not apply the same standard to him?

                  He attempted something that was at the very least very very stupid and most likely criminal, but was he capable of making sound, reasoned decisions because he was under the influence of alcohol?

                  What I am attempting to argue for is a standard that is applied to men and women equally.

                  If being drunk mitigates her culpability, it should also mitigate his.

                  If being drunk does not absolve him of culpability for his actions, it ought not absolve her of her culpability for her actions.

                  The extent to which their responsibility for their actions is mitigated is another question.

                  I am saying that if they are both drunk it cannot be rape. But if they are both drunk it may not be rape. It may be a case of remorse or something else.

                  What I do not agree with is “She was drunk so it was impossible for her to give consent, but even though he was just as drunk and thought he had consent he raped her.”

                  That is the position of many and, IMHO, is wrong.

                  Again, the wise thing is to stay sober (keep it to one or two drinks max) and only have sex with your partner. Avoids a lot of this.

                  • 11B-Mailclerk says:

                    Consent is not the same as deliberate acts.

                    You are not comparing two equivalent things.

                    If she is drunk, she -cannot- give consent. She is legally incapable of it. She sant contract to sell her car, either.

                    If one is drunk and steals another drunks’s wallet, one cannot argue about “mutual culpability”. One is a thief, the other is the victim.

                    Don’t trust her consent? Keep your fly zipped.

                    • Not that Mike says:

                      Consent IS a deliberate act. While I’m definitely not supporting the idiot officer’s actions, I agree wholeheartedly with Graybeard.

                  • timactual says:

                    I classify behavior like this woman’s as “contributory negligence”. Although probably legally guiltless (although getting falling down drunk in public might be considered “conduct unbecoming…”)she nevertheless had some moral responsibility for the situation.

                    As for the Commander’s condition, I think it is irrelevant as to guilt or innocence, but it may possibly be used for sentencing purposes as a “matter in extenuation or mitigation”.

                    “Matters in extenuation.
                    RCM 1001(c)(1)(A).
                    Explains circumstances surrounding commission of the offense,
                    including those reasons that do not constitute a legal justification or

                  • Daisy Cutter says:

                    Not trying to take sides, but I was intrigued as to the standard applied.

                    If I was pressed to come up with the difference as to actions in an alcohol-induced state, I would say that the difference in this case is one of him making judgments that were aggressive/offensive in nature to perpetuate the situation and hers were passive/defensive decisions, assuming of course that the agreement in the bar to have sex never occurred and we strictly look at actions at her home.

                    Although I see a difference, I won’t go so far as say that one perspective trumps the other.

              • Reddevil says:

                She isn’t being let off the hook for anything- it’s just that she didn’t try to rape anyone. I Still don’t see what she did that even approaches criminal activity.

                As far as agreeing to hanky panky, she says and he agrees that she repeatedly said no.

                Why can’t you be alone with pretty women? I assume it’s becausE you are afraid they’ll falsely accuse you of rape, not because you can’t help yourself (what’s your policy on not pretty girls, by the way). This guy couldn’t help himself.

    • desertdweller says:

      You forgot ‘DUMB IN A PUBLIC PLACE”

  6. USAFRetired says:

    The 11th Commandment

    Thou shalt not boink the hired help.

  7. MCPO NYC USN Ret. says:

    How old is this CDR?

    I am not asking because he looks so young, I am asking because he acts like he is in high school and clearly had very bad parents!

  8. QMC says:

    What an idiot.

    The full story on the Stars & Stripes link that John posted has even more:

    “A neighbor who heard her called 911. As San Diego police arrived, Neuhart ran out the back and into a canyon, with his still-recording cellphone in his pocket. He fell — fracturing his leg. Officer caught him and arrested him.”

  9. Ex-PH2 says:

    First of all, take the degreaser to that hair.

    Second, he’s an idiot. His “second thoughts” in re: ‘family’ is hogwash. He’s making excuses.

    Third, he’s an idiot. She is, too, but if she was more sloshed than he was, her judgment may have been impaired.

    Fourth, neither of them has an ounce of common sense, so I’d say ‘fire them… fire them both’ and have done with it.

  10. Club Manager says:

    Candy is dandy but liquor is quicker.

  11. CM says:

    Christ… it’s at the point where some of us should come out of retirement to get things back into order and smack these “modern” Commander’s into shape.

    • thebesig says:

      The atmosphere within these organizations will work against that. Many of us attempted to maintain what used to be by fighting against the changes that eroded a lot of what the military used to be like… But to no avail. Many were vilified, and the old school leadership was deemed as “creating a hostile atmosphere” or “creating a hostile working environment”. The military has gone from requiring the new people to adjust to the military to requiring the military to adjust to the new generation… In many instances at the expense of maintaining what the military should be.

      Back then, we saw how discipline was going to get worse. These firings, ship collisions, disciplinary breaches, etc., isn’t surprising. This is going to get worse as time goes on, any attempts by the “old guard” to change things back to where they used to be, discipline and judgement wise, will be stopped dead in their tracts.

      • Mick says:

        I knew that we were past the point of no return when we had to start doing mandatory ‘Command Climate Surveys’ at the squadron and battalion level.

      • NavyEODguy says:


        Yep. Had my CO tell me I was “too military” for trying to enforce regulations, uniform standards – et al while as the assigned Training Officer in a high risk training environment.

        The difference between us – I was a Mustang – he was a “college boy” who wanted everyone to “like” him.

        • thebesig says:

          Originally posted by NavyEODguy:

          The difference between us — I was a Mustang — he was a “college boy” who wanted everyone to “like” him.

          I had that “same problem”, being a Mustang enforcing regulations, uniform standards, basic military stuff, etc. My CO, XO, and Department Head didn’t have enlisted experiences under their belt, and were willingly, or unwittingly, blinded by the games that enlisted personnel played. My CO even dismissed my holding enlisted accountable for their actions as “treating them like shit” because I “was treated like shit when I was in their shoes”.

          Add to the Mustang equation the fact that the Navy changed a few years after I joined.

          I had Vietnam War Veterans, and Vietnam Era Veterans in my chain of command, and the Soviet Union was the enemy that the military trained against. Different time, different expectations. Accountability and responsibility and other things were valued. Like many others that came in when I came in, or before, we refused the social experimentation/changes that came about, and we still insisted in acting like we were in a military environment.

          We increasingly became vilified. The CO that I mention here even went back on his, “Have dress uniform will go on liberty” policy and allowed Sailors to use their “Class B” equivalent uniforms… Instead of holding to his warning, he essentially rewarded these Sailors for failing to plan and subsequently violating his requirement to bring the Class As. Like the CO you talked about, this guy wanted to be liked more than wanting to enforce discipline.

          I could go on, but what’s happening today regarding the firings and other disciplinary issues were things that many of us foresaw back then. I even saw a Navy Chief Petty Officer sitting in her car, at a gas pump, tinkering with her iPad… Despite other cars waiting. Nobody got on her case.

          I couldn’t serve in the Navy today based on what I’ve seen. Much of what I saw in the Navy back in the mid 1990s, I saw happening in the Army in the past few years. They’re headed in a similar direction that the Navy headed. But, I’m in the Army’s Retired Reserve, and don’t have to deal with the outcome. :mrgreen:

    • Open Channel D says:

      Look at what you’d be up against. I spent the last 20 years of a career that spanned 5 decades worrying about not getting on the wrong side of a minority, a woman, a black, or worst of all, a black woman. I sat as a recorder on O5 and O6 selection boards where the president of the board openly (and proudly) passed over more qualified white male applicants for female/minority applicants, and one of whom deep selected his aide’s wife for O-6 almost 3 years below zone. I got a NPLOC for failure to attend a diversity picnic right before my 06 board, which my CO made sure made it to every member of my O6 board. My last CO (female) assigned a junior USPHS (Public Health) officer to do my retirement ceremony and promised that it would be an alcohol free event. I declined.

      Still, I would shave off this beard and put on a uniform tomorrow if someone asked. I love me some Navy.

    • 11B-Mailclerk says:

      Me? Cleaning up the mess? I would need a post-dated presidential pardon and a case of .45 ammo, but there would be some pretty quick results.

      I am at the point where I suspect shooting shitbags may be needed to genuinely turn it around.

      OK. Perhaps only a -few- GO/FO as examples….

  12. borderbill (a NIMBY/BANANA) says:

    Fire ’em both. Lock ’em up–together. You choose the sequence.

  13. The Other Whitey says:

    Let’s see…married, five kids, pursuing sex with another female besides his wife…

    Yep, he crossed the shitbag threshold long, long before he went with rape. Fuck this guy straight to hell.

  14. A proverb to live by “never get your meat, where you make your bread”

  15. 11B-Mailclerk says:

    Consent is not the same as deliberate acts.

    You are not comparing two equivalent things.

  16. jonp says:

    Set up your phone to record you attempting to break into a home to rape a woman. I’m going with the too drunk to know what I was doing defense.
    Sounds to me like they both had way over the top alcohol and this should be chalked up to bad decisions all the way around.
    How do you waffle between committing adultery or remaining faithful to your wife and 5 kids? oh…Jim Beam

  17. jonp says:

    ok, read the story to my wife who was cheated on by her husband when he was active duty. Her first response “how the fuck did he think a video was going to help him out and why did that ever see the light of day” followed by “she was admittingly so drunk she couldn’t stand up without help so how did she know what was going on”? Both of them should have just slept it off and let this go.

  18. Rosalee Adams says:

    This reminds me of the bubble-headed brain dead bimbo Bowman who accompanied a Smith to Hyannis at 2AM and then later screamed rape.
    Sorry, not buying this one either.
    She ushered him to her home and expected him to do what?
    See her to the door?
    It does not work that way in the real world. It might in la la land but not in the real world
    AND also sick of women coming forward later to
    wail about it

  19. JimV says:

    A drunken female officer? That’s not good.

    • Green Thumb says:


      But drunken male officers are just as bad.

      This also makes me think that they both have engaged in this drunkenness bullshit on TDY before.


      • PFM says:

        Had one that was a damned good Company Commander come back from Afghanistan and within a month got a DWI, fucked himself up and killed a woman by driving the wrong way on the interstate. He is now in prison.

  20. FatCircles0311 says:

    So at what point between talking about doing the horizontal mumbo, kissing, and “hugging” in the woman’s home does she hold any responsibility? This story is so fucking ridiculous.

    She needs to be UCMJ’d as well. Her conduct was atrocious as well.

    • Instinct says:

      Yep. I’m sorry, but if she doesn’t have the common sense not to get so shitfaced that she can’t stand up without help then maybe a position in the military as a leader isn’t for her.

      They both need to be tossed. Hopefully Mattis can get this shit under control and get our military back to being a military by stacking some bodies up.

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