The case in which Helms overturned the jury finding began in October 2010, when a noncommissioned officer at Vandenberg reported that she had been sexually assaulted by Capt. Matthew S. Herrera in his bedroom after a night of drinking.
Herrera’s housemate told authorities that he had a history of acting aggressively with women, according to the case file obtained by The Washington Post. Investigators found another woman, a second lieutenant, who said Herrera sexually assaulted her in the back seat of a car a year earlier, although she did not report it at the time.
Herrera was charged in both cases. At his court-martial, his attorneys argued that the sexual encounters were consensual. A jury of five Air Force officers found Herrera guilty of sexually assaulting the lieutenant and sentenced him to 60 days behind bars, a loss of pay and dismissal from the Air Force. He was found not guilty of assaulting the noncommissioned officer.