MCT REGIONAL NEWS
By Tom Roeder
The Gazette, Colorado Springs, Colo.
March 16--A major at Air Force Space Command is set to be court-martialed in May on charges of rape and assault.
Maj. Jared R. Burdin is charged with forcibly raping a woman last summer at his home in Colorado Springs, according to the 21st Space Wing at Peterson Air Force Base. A second charge accuses Burdin of assaulting a woman in September.
In military courts, rape can carry the same penalties as murder, including capital punishment.
In this case, Burdin faces a maximum of life behind bars.
A 13-year veteran of the Air Force, Burdin was charged with sexual assault in 4th Judicial District Court last year after he was arrested by El Paso County sheriff's deputies. The charges were dismissed by prosecutors on Dec. 21, eight days after Air Force prosecutors filed their rape charge.
A spokeswoman said the 4th Judicial District Attorney's Office handed off the case to military authorities.
Burdin's attorney in the 4th Judicial District case did not return a phone call.
Even though the incidents allegedly took place off of a military base, the military can claim jurisdiction because Burdin wears the uniform.
Burdin is assigned to the headquarters of Air Force Space Command at Peterson, which oversees the Air Force's constellation of satellites and now plays a role in Internet warfare.
He remains free pending court-martial.
Charging papers allege that the 41-year-old forced an unidentified woman to have sex by holding her down and forcing her legs apart. The assault charge accuses Burdin of grabbing a woman by the arms and throwing her to the floor.
A panel of officers will hear evidence in the case and rule on Burdin's guilt.
If Burdin is convicted the same panel will rule on his sentence.
Court-martial panels have broad discretion in sentencing, with no minimum sentence mandated by law.
Call the writer: 636-0240
To see more of The Gazette, or to subscribe to the newspaper, go to http://www.gazette.com.
(c) 2011, The Gazette, Colorado Springs, Colo.
Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.