MURRAY – A case involving four National Guard soldiers accused of sexually assaulting a female soldier in 2017 in Murray entered its latest chapter Monday.
Three of the four soldiers were sentenced for their alleged roles in the activity Monday in Calloway Circuit Court.
Anthony Tubolino, 28, of Auburn was sentenced to a 12-month jail sentence on two charges of sexual misconduct and unlawful transaction with a minor in the third degree. Tyler Hart, 22, of Bowling Green received a six-month jail sentence for two counts of sexual misconduct, while Jacob Ruth, 22, of Munfordville received a four-month jail sentence.
Judge James T. Jameson did impose 12-month sentences for both Hart and Ruth, but stipulated that six months would be conditionally discharged for Hart’s sentence, while Ruth received a conditional discharge of eight months.
A fourth defendant, Austin Dennis, 21, of Munfordville, will stand trial in February on a charge of sodomy in the first degree. All three other defendants had originally been charged with much more serious offenses as well.
Tubolino, Hart and Dennis also faced first-degree sodomy charges, while Tubolino also had faced a first-degree rape charge. Hart had also faced a first-degree sexual assault charge.
Calloway Assistant Commonwealth Attorney James Burkeen explained the reasoning behind the reduction in charges for Tubolino, Hart and Ruth during Monday’s court session that was conducted via virtual communications.
“For first-degree rape, for example, you have to have one of three things involved — forcible contact, physically helpless or a victim under 12 years old,” Burkeen said, adding that the alleged victim in the case, whose name has not been released, is believed to have, like the four defendants, consumed alcohol inside a Murray hotel on the night of June 2, 2017.
“So you look at physically helpless as the main one of those three and that is defined in the commonwealth as basically being physically unable to resist. It is believed that the victim was intoxicated, but maybe not to the point of being helpless, and that’s the part we thought we would have trouble with in this case.”
All five soldiers were in Calloway County awaiting deployment for a training exercise when the alleged incident occurred.
Jameson said Tubolino’s sentence was the heaviest Monday because he also was a non-commissioned officer, meaning he had the duty of setting a better example for the other soldiers.
“You were the man in charge. That means you set the tone. The buck stops here,” Jameson said.
All three of the defendants sentenced Monday will serve their time in the Calloway County Jail in Murray. Calloway Commonwealth’s Attorney Dennis Foust said Dennis is facing 10 to 20 years in prison if his trial results in a conviction.
Individuals facing charges are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.