High-Ranking F-22 Pilot Charged With Rape of Sleeping Woman

Col. Jason Costello (Air Force Photo)
Col. Jason Costello (Air Force Photo)

An F-22 Raptor pilot faces court-martial this October on charges of sexual assault, as well as striking and unlawfully grabbing an individual.

Col. Jason Costello, assigned to the North American Aerospace Defense Command and U.S. Northern Command at Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado, is accused of multiple sexual assault incidents between 2012 and 2014, according to an Air Force charge sheet.

He has been charged with violating Article 120 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, defined as rape, sexual assault or other sexual misconduct.

Costello penetrated a woman while she was asleep in 2014, according to one specification. The act allegedly occurred in the state of Rhode Island sometime between October and December 2014, it states.

On an earlier occasion, Costello assaulted a woman without her consent, with an intent to gratify himself, sometime between September and November 2012, another specification reads.

Separately, "on diverse occasions between on or about Dec. 4, 2012, and on or about Aug. 1, 2014," Costello committed sexual contact by touching his victim's "breasts over her clothes with his hands and touching her vulva over her clothes with his hands" without her consent, the charge sheet states.

Another specification under Article 120 has been redacted. It is unclear if it has been removed.

Costello is also charged with striking and harming an individual on two occasions.

In 2013, Costello hit someone in the face, according to a specification under UCMJ Article 128, which covers assault.

Costello also grabbed an individual on his or her arm, wrist and hands in 2017, another specification states.

It's not clear from the charge sheet if there is one alleged victim or if Costello is accused of assaulting multiple individuals.

He is no longer serving in his operational duties pending trial, according to a report from Stars and Stripes.

Michael Kucharek, a spokesman for NORAD and NORTHCOM, told Stripes that while Costello remains on active-duty status, the command has taken "appropriate actions while balancing the rights of the individual."

Military.com was unable to reach Kucharek by press time.

Costello was previously commander of the 325th Training Support Squadron at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, according to a 2012 Air Force release. He graduated from the Air Force Academy in 1995 and attended pilot training at Reese Air Force Base, Texas, the release said.

A preliminary trial date has been set for Oct. 1.

-- Oriana Pawlyk can be reached at oriana.pawlyk@military.com. Follow her on Twitter at @Oriana0214.

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