AFA and FRC Deliver 130,000-Signature Petition in Support of Sgt. Charles Martland
TUPELO, Miss.—On Friday, Sandy Rios, Director of Governmental Affairs for American Family Association (AFA, www.afa.net), along with Gen. Jerry Boykin of the Family Research Council, delivered a 130,000-signature petition to John McCain (R-Ariz.), Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, in support of Sgt. 1st Class Charles Martland.
Martland is facing discharge by the U.S. Army because he confronted an Afghan leader who had repeatedly raped a young Afghan boy. Martland’s plight was first brought to the attention of AFA’s tens of thousands of friends and supporters through an AFA Action Alert late last month.
“Instead of standing with a soldier who was protecting a child against an admitted rapist, the military is dismissing him for these brave actions—for stepping in to protect a defenseless child from physical abuse,” said AFA President Tim Wildmon. “No matter where our soldiers serve, no matter what local customs may dictate, every person serving in our military has a moral obligation to protect children anywhere and anytime abuse occurs. We hope these 130,000 signatures will show our military’s leadership that the American people care about defending the defenseless and that Sgt. Martland took the right action.”
In its alert, AFA told readers about the decorated soldier who was instructed to turn a blind eye from intervening in the case of a child who was being repeatedly raped and beaten. But Martland knew it was an order he had to refuse. Now, doing the right thing may cost him his career.
Martland, a Green Beret, learned from the mother of a 12-year-old Afghan boy that an Afghan police commander had chained her son to his bed in order to repeatedly abuse him—all occurring on a United States military base in Afghanistan. The commander was being trained under Martland’s mentorship.
Martland confronted the Afghan commander, who admitted and laughed off the sexually abusive actions. Martland, however, would not stand by and allow the child to be hurt any longer. A physical altercation broke out between Martland and the Afghan commander, and Martland threw the abuser off the base.
For protecting this child against an admitted rapist, Martland has been told he will be dismissed from the military in November.
McCain was handed copies of the petitions on Friday, and this week, the petitions will also be delivered to House Armed Service Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-Texas). The petition asks that Martland’s record be cleared on the matter concerning his intervention to protect the boy. The petition also requests an investigation into the policy concerning the ability of U.S. military personnel to protect children from sexual abuse and exploitation.
To sign up for Action Alerts like the one aimed to support Sgt. Martland, click here.