An Army Sergeant has been jailed for stripping off and ‘gyrating’ at a female colleague after drinking a huge ‘boot’ of alcohol.
Staff Sergeant Samuel Haseltine, 32, was ‘completely and utterly drunk’ after necking a two-liter stein filled with beer and spirits during a leaving party thrown for him.
The ‘lewd’ soldier took his clothes off and approached the woman, who was sober and the only female solider at the party, a court martial heard.
He walked up behind her as she was sat on a sofa and began to ‘gyrate’ his genitals, just ‘inches from her face’.
Married SSgt Haseltine, of 4 Regiment Royal Logistic Corps, apologized to the woman the following day after colleagues told him he had ‘overstepped the line’.
SSgt Haseltine served in the army for nearly 15 years, boasts several medals of honor and has served one tour in Afghanistan.
He was allowed to complete an 18-month course that earned him the rank of Staff Sergeant before the hearing, and narrowly avoided a reduction in rank despite being jailed.
The soldier admitted one charge of disgraceful conduct and was said to be ‘full of guilt’ towards his ‘humiliated’ colleague at the Military Corrective Training Center (MCTC) in Colchester, Essex.
Staff Sergeant Samuel Haseltine, pictured at Bulford Military Court, has been jailed for six months over his ‘lewd’ actions towards a female solider at his own leaving do. He was described by his victim as being ‘completely and utterly’ drunk
The married father had downed a huge boot of alcohol, as part of a leaving bash tradition, just before stripping off and ‘gyrating’ at his colleague who was sitting on a sofa at the base in Suffolk
But Judge Advocate Edward Legard told the disgraced officer his actions would ‘not be tolerated’ in the Army and jailed him for six months for his ‘appalling’ actions.
Judge Legard said: ‘The behavior that forms the basis of this charge represents an appalling example of gross misconduct.
‘Let me make this absolutely clear: such behavior should not and will not be tolerated in Her Majesty’s Army.
‘Moreover, incidents of this nature can cause serious reputational damage to the Armed Forces.’
Bulford Military Court, in Wilts, heard that the incident happened when SSgt Haseltine’s unit threw him a ‘leaving do’ before he enrolled on the course which took him from the rank of Corporal to that of Staff Sergeant.
He completed the course ahead of the court martial hearing, and risked a reduction in rank as a result.
The group of soldiers attended the leaving party at the unit bar of Rock Barracks at MoD Woodbridge in Suffolk – including senior officers and his commanding officer.
The hearing was told his unit employers a tradition that those departing have to stand on a chair and drink a giant, two-liter ‘glass boot’ of alcohol in one.
David Richards, defending SSgt Haseltine, explained: ‘It was the tradition within that unit that those leaving would have a particular drink.
‘A glass boot, two liters or thereabouts. A large stein filled with beer, spirits – whatever.
‘The person leaving was required to stand up on a chair and down it in one. Corporal Haseltine, as he was then, went along with the tradition. ‘
Bulford Military Court heard that SSgt Haseltine’s actions caused others to laugh, with the female officer leaving the room after the incident.
Prosecuting, Captain Rebecca Slee said: ‘He took his clothes off so his genitals were exposed.
SSgt Haseltine was told by a judge that his behavior was ‘appalling’ and that it could cause ‘serious reputational damage’ to the British Army
‘He approached the victim from behind whilst she was sat on a sofa and proceeded to gyrate close to her right shoulder whilst others laughed.
‘She left the room. This was a specific targeting of the only female in the room. ‘
Mr Richards added that although SSgt Haseltine’s ‘crass’ behavior was inexcusable it had been a result of the ‘social pressure of the event’.
He added that SSgt Haseltine is not a ‘heavy drinker’ and that was why he was ‘completely and utterly drunk’ after the boot-drinking tradition.
Mr Richards told the court: ‘The next day he had no recollection of the incident but was told by others what he had done.
‘SSgt Haseltine approached the victim to apologize, but she didn’t want to speak to him and sent him away.
‘Later, his wife approached her and apologized on her behalf, and she accepted that apology.
‘It was an act of crass stupidity which was wholly out of character. One witness put it best, saying SSgt Haseltine ‘overstepped the line’. ‘
In a statement to the court, the victim said that she was ‘disgusted’ to have been ‘singled out’ as the only woman.
He was jailed for six months at Bulford Military Court, in Wilts, after admitting one charge of disgraceful conduct and was said to be ‘full of guilt’ towards his ‘humiliated’ colleague
She also said the incident justified this kind of behavior to junior soldiers in the unit and taught them it was ‘acceptable and normal’.
Passing the sentence, Judge Advocate Legard said: ‘The victim was the only female present in the bar and she was sober. She was sitting on a sofa and was engaged in chatting.
‘You, in a state of extreme inebriation, approached her from behind, exposed your genitals and gyrated inches away from her face.
‘There was laughter and no doubt encouragement from others. It was a deeply humiliating and embarrassing incident for the victim.
‘This was an episode which had the potential to cause reputational damage to the Armed Forces and one that runs contrary to the modern Army.’
SSgt Haseltine’s Regiment forms part of the 12 Armored Brigade Combat Team which, on operations, is part of the Army’s 3rd UK Warfighting Division.
The 3rd Division, based on Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire, is also known as The Iron Division and is the only division which retains continual operational readiness in the UK.
During wartime, 4 Regt RLC provides ammunition, fuel and rations to front line units.