Navy Denies Marine Purple Heart for Fighting Sex Offender: Lawsuit | #childpredator | #kidsaftey | #childsaftey

A former Marine sergeant is suing the Navy for denying him a Purple Heart after he was discharged following a fight with a former Naval officer who is a convicted sex offender, according to court documents.

Andrew Muller, of Houston, Texas, filed the lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Indiana in July, seeking a correction of his Naval records.

The complaint, reviewed by Newsweek, argued that the Marine Corps “improperly withheld”—and the Board for Correction of Naval Records (BCNR) “impurely denied”—Muller the medal, awarded to those wounded or killed while serving in the U.S. military.

The defendant is listed as the United States of America because the United States Marine Corps “is subordinate to the United States Navy, which falls under the Department of Defense, which is an executive department of the USA.”

According to the complaint, Muller is requesting that his records be corrected to reflect that he is entitled to a Purple Heart for injuries sustained in combat in March 2012 while deployed to Afghanistan.

A Purple Heart medal is seen during a Purple Heart ceremony June 9, 2015 at George Washington’s Mount Vernon in Mount Vernon, Virginia. Alex Wong/Getty Images

Muller, who joined the Marine Corps in 2007, was “documented with suspected posttraumatic stress disorder” in 2010 by a Naval medical officer, with no follow-on care provided, the complaint says.

He was deployed to Afghanistan in November 2011, and sustained a traumatic brain injury “as a result of an enemy improvised explosive device (IED)” on March 26, 2012.

Years later, Muller had charges referred to general court-martial following a “physical altercation with a retired Naval officer who is a convicted, and registered, sex offender who had recently been released from prison” on May 12, 2015. The person is not identified in the complaint, and no details are provided about what prompted the altercation.

He was convicted in April 2016 on two specifications of Article 128, which is related to assault, and one specification of Article 134, good order and discipline in the armed forces, of the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

Muller was discharged from the Marine Corps on November 11, 2017, according to the complaint. The following year, he petitioned the Marine Corps for the Purple Heart he was not awarded through an unnamed state senator.

The Marine Corps Forces Central Command responded to the state senator in December 2018 that Muller’s Purple Heart could not be processed because he had received a bad conduct discharge, the complaint read.

Muller had submitted a petition to the BCNR for a discharge upgrade in August 2018, but administrators closed the petition in error in November, the complaint said.

Muller resubmitted the petition and requested additional relief in June 2020, according the complaint. After providing Muller with an advisory opinion for review in December, the BCNR denied his request for relief in February 2021.

The complaint argues that the BCNR used “an inapplicable statute” to deny Muller his Purple Heart.

“Defendant’s rationale to deny was illogical, an abuse of discretion and inappropriately applied,” the complaint said.

Muller is asking the court to order the Navy to award him a Purple Heart and grant relief to “redress past injury and to restrain further harm” as well as any relief that the Court “deems just and proper.”

An attorney for Muller did not respond to Newsweek‘s questions. The Navy, the Department of Defense and the Board for Correction of Naval Records have been contacted for comment via email.

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