An Army physician accused of sexual misconduct with patients is expected to appear in military court in February at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, facing 53 charges of inappropriately looking at or touching at least 23 victims.
Maj. Michael Stockin, 38, an anesthesiologist and pain management specialist who has worked at several military treatment facilities, including Madigan Army Medical Center in Washington state, faces a general court-martial on 48 counts of abusive sexual contact and five counts of indecent viewing, according to court documents.
Since November, the number of charges he faces has increased from 39, likely the result of the investigation.
The charge of abusive sexual contact, defined under the Uniform Code of Military Justice as "touching of the genitalia, anus, groin, breast, inner thigh, or buttocks of any person," is categorized as a sexual crime that falls under the Department of Defense's new requirements for handling serious crimes against individuals.
Indecent viewing is defined as wrongfully and knowingly viewing the private area of another person without their consent or under circumstances in which there is a "reasonable expectation of privacy," according to the UCMJ.
In late 2022, Congress passed a law that required the DoD to remove authority for prosecuting alleged perpetrators of 13 offenses, including rape, murder, kidnapping and domestic violence, from the chain of command.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin announced Dec. 28 that the offices established to handle prosecutions of those crimes within the individual services -- four Offices of Special Trial Counsel that include the Army; Navy; Marine Corps; and Air Force, responsible for the Space Force as well -- had reached full operational capability.
A spokeswoman for the office told Stars and Stripes on Friday that the Stockin case will be the first for the Army Office of Special Trial Counsel.
The office has exclusive authority to determine whether to pursue a case against a service member, send the case to court-martial, reach plea agreements, drop charges against the accused, and more.
According to the Army's case docket list, Stockin's arraignment is set for Feb. 20 at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. Maximum punishment for a single charge of abusive sexual contact includes reduction in rank, dishonorable discharge, forfeiture of all pay and allowances, and confinement for up to seven years.
The maximum punishment for an indecent viewing charge is reduction in rank, dishonorable discharge, forfeiture of all pay and allowances, and confinement up to one year.
Stockin previously served in Iraq; at Tripler Army Medical Center in Hawaii; and Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland.
The Army barred Stockin from seeing patients in February 2022 following complaints, although an attorney for several service members said that one of her clients was seen after that month.
At least five service members have filed claims against the Army and the Department of Defense under the Federal Tort Claims Act over the abuse they allegedly experienced as Stockin's patients.
Stockin's attorney, Robert Capovilla, told Military.com in November that his client looked forward to a "fair trial and the opportunity to challenge" the allegations in court.
Stockin previously waived his right to an Article 32 hearing after the alleged victims "refused to testify about the facts of the case and answer the defense team's questions," Capovilla said in a Nov. 19 email.
Office of Special Trial Counsel spokeswoman Michelle McCaskill told Stars and Stripes that the date of the arraignment is subject to change, and a final decision on the exact number of charges could come this week.
The case may be the largest ever filed of sexual assault charges against a single service member.
Editor's note: This story was updated with a revised arraignment date.