John Stebbins — War Hero to Convict

The film Black Hawk Down–based on Mark Bowden’s excellent book about the deadly standoff between American troops and thousands of Somali militiamen in Mogadishu–opens soon. One of the odd differences between the book and the movie is that the soldiers were given fictional names for the movie.

To my knowledge, USA Today is the first to suggest that the reason for doing so may have been due to issues beyond creative and legal ones. It turns out that one of the outstanding heroes of the Somalia engagement, Spec. John Stebbins was court-martialed by the Army and plead guilty to raping and molesting his teenage 6-year-old daughter. He is currently serving a 30-year sentence at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, but is appealing the case (USA Today does not say what part of his case he is appealing).

Stebbins received the Silver Star for his incredible act of heroism that day–he was shot several times and had to literally be dragged to safety due to his injuries.

Personally, that sort of story would be more interesting as a movie than simply doing a film of Bowden’s excellent book. Never having been through a war (or any sort of deadly violent personal conflict), it is hard to imagine what someone like Spec. Shawn Nelson has had to deal with. He was an M-60 gunner, and Bowden makes it very clear in his book that although Nelson initially tried to shoot selectively at combatants and avoid hitting civilians, as huge throngs of people surged toward him, he was forced to fire indiscriminately into the crowd.

Now an exploration of that would make an interesting movie.

Update, 6/6/2018: Per one of the commenters below, Stebbins was apparently released from Federal prison on March 26, 2018.

28 thoughts on “John Stebbins — War Hero to Convict”

  1. It is sad really. How human beings can be so heroic one moment and so brutal and sick the next moment. It’s hard to reconcile the two John Stebbins. A hero a child rapist. I am no fool and I know folks, even those who seem to be heroic and good, can turn bad but how bad is what makes this horrible. We understand our soldiers suffer greately in war but most never turn so horrible. Perhaps they are hard to live with or even become physically abusive for which therapy is necessary. But to stoop so low is such a shame. I so sad for the child this monster hurt. Was the little girl his? I know it really does not matter but how much more traumatic to be hurt by your own father. Just a sad story. Good Day,Joe.

    1. Yes. She was his daughter. I lived in the same town as MS and she was pretty messed up during her teenage years as is her brother. These are wonderful people and John Stebbins is a monster.

  2. John Stebbins was a year behind me in school at Ithaca High and was the boyfriend of my then girlfriend’s roommate. He was an introvert and somewhat “peculiar” but never came across as the sexual deviant he turned out to be. Either he was hiding that darkside well or he was a PTSD casualty who came back from war with a newly acquired thirst for child sex. Either way, death is the only permanent treatment for pedophilia, not incarceration.

    1. How odd, because you can surely normally spot men who are attracted to children as soon as they step into the room.
      Actually pedophiles are still pedophiles after death, and onto their next incarnation. Spoiler alert!
      I slung bagels with John and he was a good guy. Despite what he did, I’m glad he didn’t have to do the full 30. I imagine he learned to keep it in his pants.

  3. I was actually three years old when he started to sexually molest and sodomize me. It stopped when I was six and told my mom after we moved from Georgia to New York while my parents were getting a divorce. He is a sick man and although he was an American hero, he deserves no credit for that after taking something from me that I will never get back.

    1. Meghan I know it is 10 years later after your post, but I hope you are doing a lot better now, and from what it sounds like, you are a survivor ❤! Hope you are safe now.

  4. Yes, He was a soldier who came back from war as a hero, but to turn that dark there is something very wrong. Personally I feel that a man harms a child should lose all rights of freedom. 23.5 hours a day in solitary. My prays go to the daughter and the mother for the long road ahead because as someone who has helped abuse victims there will be things down the road that you can not see.

  5. I knew his ex-wife and kids back before that I was just trying to locate her and come across this. Both of those children were so adorable and the mom was a great person. Now I am glad that I never met him. What kind of man could do that. I wish I could take all of the pain and memories away from Megan. I would really love to hear from her mom and about the children.

  6. What did Stebbins do? I will not print it in detail. I will write the he repeatedly and severely molested his daughter at age 6 according to the last judicial ruling. He did so from when she was 3 until she was six according to a post on this page. After he and his wife separated when his daughter was 7, the daughter told her mother that she “hated” her father because “he had sex with me.” At his court martial Stebbins plead guilty to molesting his daughter. I know the details of his sentence, but not his plea.
    Stebbins was reduced in rank to E1, given a dishonorable discharge, received a sentence of life imprisonment without parole, fined $75,000, and received a conditional sentence of an additional 5 years imprisonment if he did not pay the fine.
    His sentence was reduced to 30 years imprisonment. At present, he has served over a third of this sentence. I personally regret this. For what he did he should never walk among us again.
    His daughter can and no doubt will recover from this unspeakable trauma, and go on to live a happy and fulfilled life. At the same time, she was robbed of her innocence and her youth, and robbed by her own father. I would think that this would be a trauma that impacts her life forever. I hope she, if she needs to do so, participates in group therapy with other victims of sexual molestation, and unburdened her feelings to a licensed professional therapist.
    God bless you, MS. You are in our hearts and prayers.

  7. How is it so hard to fathom what happened?

    Their are many people are are social deviants who in the moment of battle would fight and help their commrades. Many would run into a burning house to save someone.

    So what?

    Just because someone was in the military, even who performed a heroic act in battle, does not mean they are an overall good person. Yes, our military should be honored for their service and it should entitle them to recognition and social service benefits (more than they receive now).

    However, they are still acountable for their actions both later in their service career and civilian life. A heroic record does not entitle anyone to immunity from civil or criminal law.

    John Stebbins was originally a Lt. who resigned his commision and re-upped as enlisted because he could not hack civilian life.

    And just so everyone knows, as often happens with military criminal cases, once the attention waned, Stebbins was transferred to the low security federal prison in Elkton Ohio and resentenced to be let go May 20, 2019. That is seven years. A long time to be in prison but an eye-blink in normal life. Mark my words. Someone this deviant should never be let out. He will re-offend. This is something that can not be fixed.

    He will re-offend.

    Megan, if you are reading this please seek help. Both medical and spiritual. Create a life for yourself with people around you. Do not isolate yourself.

    God bless you.

  8. I am SO proud to call Megan my best friend. She is so strong, and has put this terrible past behind her for the most part. She is a beautiful, successfull young woman now and I couldn’t feel more blessed to call her my friend.

  9. I am SO proud to call Megan my best friend. She is so strong, and has put this terrible past behind her for the most part. She is a beautiful, successfull y
    oung woman now and I couldn’t feel more blessed to call her my friend.

  10. The US military is full of pedophiles and other deviants, it’s basicaly a prison with uniforms. I have known lots of good people that were in the military. Don’t take me wrong, there are always good people, even in prison there are people who just did the wrong thing and made a mistake and are doing time for it. And there are lots of people who go in the military to get college paid for, or are really patriots and all that, I’m not talking about those guys. All of them (my various friends who have done military time in all four branches)for the most part told me about the majority of their fellow troops was that they were drug addled idiots and ex cons, some of whom are sexual deviants, or they saw some of the fucked up shit that the military was involved in with contractors (one friend told me about the shit he saw in Kosovo with all the under age child trafficking and shit, and this was after the crack up on the Dyncorp prostitution ring, that was all really played down anyway to give the bad press some kind of ending.). Now keep in mind I’m a pretty secular hip guy, I’m not talking about tieing your wife up or swinger party types, or kinky sex in a animal costume bullshit, I’m talking about repeat offender child molesting and fucking rape like it’s a god damn hobby-shit bags. The only way the Military Industrial complex is able to keep it’s power base it would seem is to A) have perpetual wars, and B) make sure their ranks are swelled with the most psychotic,brain washed fuck tard manics we can get out of jail sentences or straight out of the White Aryan Resistance (guys looking for traing for the race war, you know those fucking morons), or the street gangs, or MS13 or what ever to make sure every one is scared shitless of what will happen if the politicos get out of line. What would happen would be 150,000 active duty maniacs that they would sick on the civilian populace under martial law. it’s really ridiculous if you think about it

  11. What Stebbins did is horrible, but none of you were actually involved in a situation where masses of men, women and children are charging at you, and you either shoot them or die. yes, he deserves the prison time, but the man honestly should be recieving therapy. very few of you would have the stomach to go from a simple desk job to one of the largest military incidents to occur. that kind of intense action, where people are dying all around you, your best friend taking a bullet to the head, that changes you.

    those who are saying the military is full of pedophiles can fuck off. these men are out there taking bullets for you, protecting others from rape, famine, and other inhumanities. Sure, you may not agree with what they are fighting for, but thats the politicians decisions, not theirs.

    Never accuse people of something unless youve been out there yourself. theyve suffered at least twice over what you have.

    1. All right, I have to comment here. Child rape is not a joke, nor a situation made up because a little girl is angry with her father. It is a horrendous experience that cannot be explained away by PTSD or anything other than a mental illness that cannot be cured or controlled. Child molesters always have the urge, always feel the desire to touch children in a way that no child should be touched; when they get into court and say that they themselves were abused in the same way and so they should not be punished by treated, it makes me physically ill. If there is ever a therapy that could be implemented to keep child molesters from repeating their actions, it would be front page news EVERYWHERE, but unfortunately there isn’t. I know. I was molested from the age of 7 til I was 15, when I got too old to be fun for those molesting me. One of them went on to date a woman with 4 daughters (whom he frequently babysat), and when she thought he was going to ask her to marry him, he told her he was engaged to her youngest daughter (then age 17). They married a year later, and they divorced when she graduated from college, with her asking anyone and everyone why he didn’t want her any more. Simple. She grew up.

  12. 1. Sothis58… you’re an idiot.
    a. combat does bad things to people’s heads
    b. it does not turn people into child molesters. Maybe “trafficers” for pursuing women they shouldn’t. But to see a child with desire is a completely different category. That is sociopathic, is incurable and is NOT a major condition amongst the more than 1M troops in our military. You’re a nutbag.

    2. “1 major ‘Oops’ makes null and void any and all ‘Atta-boys!!'” To deal with these situations I imagine there must be some “compartmentalizing” being done. That does not include again, becoming a sociopath and all of a sudden desiring 5 year olds.

    If you think it’s ok to rape your child – or even your wife – but then go on to serve your nation unconditionally, and find yourself in harrowing circumstances that will change you forever, then be let off scot-free because you served then you miss the ENTIRE POINT of “SERVICE.” “Serving your country” means that with equal or lesser compensation than your average citizen, enough to support yourself and your family with very little discretionary income remaining, you fulfill that commitment, WHILE upholding yourself to a higher than average standard amongst your citizens. Committing a felony makes that “higher recognition” NULL & VOID. Even many misdemeanors (besides an occasional traffic ticket, right?).

    I’m proud of what he accomplished in The Mog, and now he’s where he should be.

  13. As mentioned above, after the hype of the case died down Stebbins was transfered to a low security prison in Ohio. Using the below link, you can see that he was release in March of this year. Currently, he is living in the suburbs of Pittsburgh, PA. What a horrible thing to release a man who can commit such a crime.

  14. The U.S.Department of Justice publishes a pamphlet on recidivism rates. In it, they cite that incest child sex offenders who commit their crime with a victim of the opposite gender and serve up to 5 years, have a 1.5% rate of re-offending. Those who serve at least 10 years have a 0.5% rate. I imagine the BOP, at the express consent of the military, released Stebbins because he had served all of his time of 18 years with good time (as neither entity is known for releasing inmates early), and because they determined that he posed NO THREAT to his daughter, OR ANYBODY ELSE’S DAUGHTER.

    Further, he wasn’t civilly committed due to the battery of four separate psych evals conducted by government experts, one for which his family was billed a little over $8,000, that all had the same first sentence in the Summary Statement: “Staff Sergeant Stebbins IS NOT A PEDOPHILE.” Incest is not about pedophilia, it’s a breakdown in the family dynamic. Stebbins never ‘desired’ Megan or any other little girl. But of course, nobody wanted to hear that, much less read it.

    The unsubstantiated claim cited by the esteemed justices in Stebbins’ appeal decision (It should pain anybody in the legal profession that they did) that he ‘brutally raped and sodomized’ his daughter from the age of three was SOLELY made by Stebbins’ disgruntled ex-wife before the court-martial. Megan never said it, Stebbins never said it, either, and he said a lot of things that got him his sentence. When confronted by Stebbins about that statement, Nora’s response was “Well, you can’t disprove it, so I can say it.” (See below to disprove it.) How sad that Megan says it, now.
    [When the Army paid for her trip to testify at Stebbins’ court-martial, Nora was taken in to custody by the Muscogee County Sheriff’s Department upon arrival at Columbus. You’ll have to ask them why.]

    The other document that nobody has apparently read is the New York State Police forensic exam conducted on Megan prior to the court-martial. In it, a nurse Galen cites no evidence of abuse, sexual or otherwise is present. He says he could find NO abrasion, NO ripping, NO tearing, NO scarring, and her hymen was INTACT (hence, NO intercourse). What he does say is that he spoke with the victim’s mother, and she said the father had already confessed to molesting his daughter. A later evaluation as to the validity of this exam resulted in the renown Diane Faugno (sex crime expert) chastizing Galen for including those comments, and for even speaking with the victim’s mother before conducting what is supposed to be an objective exam. She further said “I am aware of the facts surrounding this case, and I believe a grave misjustice has occurred.”
    [Note: Stebbins spent another year with the kids without incident. Apparently he’d come to grips with the issues of divorce and abandonment. So, no ‘desiring’ of little girls after all.]

    I imagine the JAG Corp at Ft. Benning, Ft. Gordon, and the Convening Authority are STILL laughing about convicting Stebbins of rape and sodomy with NO blood, NO body, NO DNA, and NO broken hymen, except they are all long retired or dead by now. It seems a clever CID agent promised Stebbins he would never see a judge if he signed a statement confessing to “penetration ever so slight,” meaning that some part of Stebbins’ dick must have touched Megan’s vagina. It was an unprovable fact, but Stebbins went along with it, as he was gullible, and believed the CID agent has his best interests at heart.

    In the record, Stebbins admitted to three private and embarrassing moments during a month to two month period (he could never recall specific dates) where he simulated sex with his daughter. He said it was sick and twisted and tragically unproductive, as his daughter still doubted he loved her, since he was still moving out of his quarters to live in his office and divorcing her mother. The mother kept telling her that ‘daddy doesn’t love US anymore.’

    Stebbins figured out during his ‘behavior modification’ (being threatened by various hate groups: hill-billies, thugs, redneck trailer park masters of the universe, etc., that they had license to taunt, hurt maim, or kill him) that he had regressed to his childhood. While he was a boy, several older boys made sport of stripping, binding, and fondling Stebbins. He allowed it because he sought attention. Tragically, faced with divorce from a wife who cheated on him several times with men and women and abandoning his kids to a crazy woman, Stebbins imprinted himself on Megan, and traded sex for attention. For what ever reason, it was wrong. I can believe after 18 years of hate, a person can figure anything out.
    [Stebbins paid the state of Georgia $400 for Nora’s abortion, {I don’t know if you can find that record} while Stebbins said he would raise it as his own, Nora couldn’t have the child and pass it off as his, as he was ‘fixed’ and she’d switched to men of a different flavor.)

    For the record, Stebbins was never resentenced, and there was never any hype. His defense counsel told him not to go the media. She also told him he couldn’t withdraw his statement, or make a pre-trial agreement after his Article 32. Those were both lies.
    Stebbins did meet with the trial counsel (read prosecutor) minutes before the pre-trial hearing where the government tells the Convening Authority what evidence they have. The trial counsel told Stebbins that he was GOING TO BE FOUND GUILTY, and that he had better accept a pretial agreement of 30 years, because the government (he) was going to ask for and get 60 years. Stebbins’ defense counsel said he’d better SOUND guilty, too. The judge gave Stebbins 30 years. His pretrial gave him no relief and voided most of his appeal rights. Again, you can hear them laughing.

    Stebbins was sent to the USDB at Ft. Leavenworth, KS, where he was put in a 6′ x 6′ x 8′ box. The castle was condemned, all inmates moved to the ‘new’ DB which only had 515 beds. In 2006, appeals exhausted, Stebbins was shipped to Yazoo City. He was supposed to go to the ‘Low’, but the BOP put a management variable on him, so they could fill their brand new ‘Medium’ facility. He was promptly jumped by six Aryan Brotherhood members/prospects. They beat him with flails loaded with locks or batteries. Stebbins stood there for about ten minutes until their arms got tired. He was told by an Associate Warden that if he fought back and hurt one of his assailants, he forfeit parole. Since that time he’s put four men in the hospital. The last incident occurred at Allenwood, where he lost 30 days good time for assault, his shot at first time parole, and was transferred away from his visitors.
    [Note: Stebbins was immediately guaranteed parole at 15 years, which he foolishly waived. He wanted to be out without supervision or parole. The joke was on him.]

    Really, ‘Worried Citizen’, what has Stebbins been released to?

    The cops have known where Stebbins was since the day he left prison. As evidenced by the two of them showing up at his door in Pittsburgh to tell him despite the form he filled out at Elkton, he had to register with the nearest state police. That was a 26-mile bike ride. The troopers very professionally photographed, fingerprinted, DNA swabbed, and made to describe his house. The state Megan’s Law administrator said he had to check in, but they hadn’t determined if he had to be registered. In any case, he didn’t have to be on the website. So, Stebbins got out with no supervision, no parole, no felony, but he’s still in custody. he must report where he sleeps, what vehicle he drives, and where he works, if anybody will hire him. If the cops thought it was necessary to tell the neighbors he was living there, THEY WOULD HAVE.

    Fortunately for the neighbors, ‘Worried Citizen’ made it a point to send a letter to every house in the neighborhood (I wonder if that’s legal) outlining Stebbins’ crimes according to the internet, not the Record of Trial. Stebbins had delayed rejoining his second wife to assist a family member in putting his elderly father in a nursing home, and trying to figure out where his estate had been squandered during his dementia. On Friday the 13th, he was ‘invited to leave’ by third parties. His accusers were pussies. Not wanting trouble for his family members and their friends, Stebbins left. It cost a lot more money than he had planned, and his wife wasn’t ready for him, yet.

    Now, in his new state, he was put on the website upon arrival. That prompted his wife to not let him move in, for fear of what the neighbors will say, despite there being 461 other sex offenders on the website in their zip code. No supervision or parole means that Stebbins has no probation officer getting him a $20/hour job at a steel mill or an apartment to live in for free for three months, like the probation from Youngstown briefed his pre-release class. He hasn’t worked, so no unemployment benefits. The assets that he didn’t waste on weights, clothes, a pawn shop computer, etc., are now dwindling to nothing as he pays short term rents that don’t require a background check. His only meal everyday is breakfast. It comes with the room. In two weeks, he will be out on the street, his clothes in garbage bags. I sincerely hope he doesn’t ask for change. He will starve to death shortly thereafter.

    Surely, nobody will suggest that Stebbins commit another crime so he can get food and a bed in jail. Nobody wants him to go back to his old profession – killing people for money. He has nothing to lose, and nothing to live for. He may shortly go to Hell, if you all are correct. That being the case, you all will surely follow him there, as you told and spread horrible lies about him that were “beyond sickening” (nice editorializing, Brian) for 18 years when the facts were all there. But don’t worry, Stebbins will be there, waiting.

  15. Ok so I don’t know if this is looked at but my dad was in prison for a short time and he said he met the guy. His wife was cheating on him and she and the man she was cheating on him with set this up so he could be locked up for a long time. According to my dad, everyone knew his story and he got along well with everyone but kept to himself and spend most of his time working out

    1. Believe me, whether Nora was cheating on him, he RAPED his six year-old daughter. She turned out pretty well under the circumstances, but it definitely happened.

  16. Gee, Melanie, obviously you didn’t read the facts, because he didn’t rape his daughter has the test clearly prove. He spent 18 years in prison when his victim was a virgin on the day of his court martial.

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