UCMJ, Article 128, Assault, states, "Any person subject to this chapter who attempts or offers with unlawful force or violence to do bodily harm to, another, whether or not the attempt or offer is consummated, is guilty of assault and shall be punished as a court-martial may direct." The Manual for Courts Martial, Chapter 54, Article 128- Assault, Section c., Explanation, section (1), Simple Assault, Subparagraph (a) states, "Bodily harm means any offensive touching of another, however slight,"
The reports lays out several instances where witnesses testified of alleged assaults by Graf.
From the report:
[redacted], described an incident in which Graf made physical contact with him in late June of 2009. Prior to any physical contact, [redacted] stated that he had briefed Graf on a SATCOM failure as she was delivering the Night Orders to CIC.
--and in a moment of frustration and stress because there are some error events going on at the time, I think she just didn't want to listen to an explanation. She just wanted it to get fixed. So she, you know, I guess pushed me towards Radio to like -- like just go, go fix it.. but it was a, you know, side of the arm kind of like push. It wasn't like a man handle, grab, choke, or anything like that.
Later in the stateroom Graf issued an apology.
According to Graf, the touching occurred after the complainant made a "smart-aleck remark" and turned to walk away. She wasn't finished with him and reached out to get his attention.
Another alleged incident occurred when Graf balled up watchbill and threw it in the former SWO's chest across the wardroom table. However the former SWO, stated that Graf didn't throw it at me.
A witness testified that while observing the bridge watch team engage in a Seamanship Training Team event, Graf grew frustrated with him and
-- tot he point where she was getting so frustrated she-- you know she grabbed my arm, squeezed it pretty hard and like pushed me towards the thing, towards OOD. "Hey go train them."
[redacted] also stated that on several occasions, he witnessed Graf pull OODs, while yelling at them, to a new position on the bridge.
[redacted] stated that Graf has grabbed him serveral times throughout the period he served under her while he was standing watch as OOD to physically reposition hum. He also stated on one occasion in late 2008, Graf physically threatened him with a raised fist while standing watch. (emphasis added)
Graf responded via email that read in part, "I have touched people for four reasons: To get their attention, to steer someone to where they should be, to soften the bit of my tone, and to express affection. I was never violent and I never acted with an intention to harm."
The IG substantiated the allegations of assault and recommended that the Commander of Task Force Seventy/ Carrier Strike Group Five that action to hold Graf accountable for violating UCMJ Article 128.
These allegation are quite serious, a commanding officer exercises enormous power over their subordinates and the potential for abuse is great. However, these allegations are not quite as scandalous as media reports made it seem. Regardless we have to hold Commanders of US warships to the highest standards, and physical intimidation as a means of motivation can't be tolerated.
Part 1 of the report is here.