A married RAF chief was today acquitted of charges of sticking his tongue in a fellow NATO officer’s mouth – but was warned by a judge: “Take care when alcohol is in abundance.”
Wing Commander Jolyon Goodwin admitted kissing the Scandinavian officer on the lips and claimed he “misunderstood her values” when she reacted angrily and pushed him away.
However, the head of the Royal Air Force denied sexually abusing his colleague at a costume party at the Kaiserslautern football stadium near the Allied Air Command headquarters at Ramstein air base.
The officer told a military court in Sennelager, Germany, how she was the “plus” of another RAF officer at the 80s and 90s-style British Community Summer Party.
The woman said Goodwin approached her grinning as he left the dance floor, took her face in his hands and pushed his tongue into her mouth. She said his actions outraged her so much that she had a vivid physical memory of the incident every time she thought about it.
The decorated wing commander – a leading figure in the fight against ISIS – said the woman “leaned in” towards him and agreed to the kiss on the lips, which was not sexual and did not involve his tongue. He told the court-martial it was the kind of kiss “you would give to a friend’s wife” and said he had done it on numerous occasions.
After two and a half hours of deliberations, the court martial acquitted Goodwin of sexual assault charges.
Wing Commander Jolyon Goodwin admitted kissing the Scandinavian officer on the lips and claimed he “misunderstood her values” when she reacted angrily and pushed him away
Judge Advocate Edward Legard told him: “You are now free to rejoin your unit.” The last year or so has not been easy for either the complainant or yourself. I hope this judgment helps you refocus the challenges in your professional and personal life.
“A warning from the bank.” Please be careful in the future, especially where alcohol is in abundance.
The court heard the woman served alongside Goodwin in the NATO Allied Command and had achieved high rank in her own country, one of the 31 that make up the world’s most powerful military alliance.
Wing Commander Goodwin is the training director for NATO and UK forces and currently serves as the branch manager of the organization’s Lessons Learned protocol. In his illustrious career, he has previously served as the RAF Resistance Squadron Commander and also led a team of electronic warfare specialists in support of NATO efforts against ISIS.
He told the court that he was involved with US forces when they attacked Isis targets in areas where civilians lived nearby.
The experience, he said, made him think about whether he should seek support when he returned home, but he didn’t.
In a video interview played to the court, she said: “After dinner that night I spent most of my time on the dance floor. “People had drunk so much I didn’t want to have a conversation. When it happened I wasn’t on the dance floor but in the dining area.
“He left the dance floor with a smile on his face and came towards me. He took my face in his hands, placed one on each cheek and stuck his tongue in my mouth. I was taken aback, I didn’t love him back, that wasn’t what I wanted and I pushed him away.’
The court heard the pair both worked for Allied Air Command (stock image)
The court was told she told him “in no uncertain terms” to “f*** off”.
The court was told that when Goodwin was confronted about the incident by a colleague, he replied: “Damn, I get like this when I drink, I have to stop drinking, I’m screwing up my life.”
Investigations began at Ramstein Base and Wing Commander Goodwin reported the incident.
In an interview with a military police officer, Wing Commander Goodwin said, “I don’t always dance, but I felt like dancing and on hat night I danced with a lot of different people.”
“My recollection of the incident is that she tends to get really close. I really thought she was coming to me for a kiss and I gave her a kiss.” It was often mentioned that I stuck my tongue down her throat. I didn’t do that, I don’t even do that to my wife.’
Wing Commander Goodwin’s wife had collapsed from heat stroke after an Iron Man race and he had been reluctant to leave her on the night of July 8 last year. However, he felt obliged to attend the ball in the Kaiserslautern football stadium because he was chairman of the trade fair commission.
He told the court he was surprised by the captain’s reaction to his kiss.
“I remember thinking, ‘Wow, I totally misunderstood that,'” the wing commander said. “It was an honest mistake, I misunderstood their values and that was it.”
He said the officer, who also plays a key role in NATO, looked at him intently.
Goodwin said in the interview: “She looked at me intently.” She tends to look at you very intensely. I find it quite strange in some ways, I’m completely speechless by the whole thing.
“That made me think she leaned in for a kiss. Something just happened and she was right in my face and I was like, “Okay, mwah.” She said, “What are you doing?” and I said, “I don’t know, I’m sorry.” It was just a stupid one Moment. The kiss was on the lips and it was just “Mwah”.
“It was the kind of kiss you would give to your mate’s wife, who you know quite well.” “I realized she had taken it very differently than I had intended.”
He claimed “she was drunk” and said the officer “misremembered the event.”
Goodwin, originally from Newcastle upon Tyne, said the complainant had been drinking and was “jumping and jumping around”.
He told the court that he had previously danced with the wife of a squadron leader who was dressed as Luke Skywalker at the costume party.
He said: “We were running around hitting each other with lightsabers.” “It was a great night until that incident.”