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National Guard officer deployed to southern border given reprimand after pleading guilty to assault

SAN ANTONIO (AP) — A New Hampshire National Guard officer who led a battalion on the southern U.S. border has pleaded guilty to assault and several other crimes and been sentenced to a reprimand, the U.S. Army said Thursday.

A military judge in Texas on Wednesday convicted and sentenced Lt. Col. Mark Patterson as part of a deal in which he pleaded guilty to assault consummated by a battery, sexual harassment, conduct unbecoming an officer, violation of a general order and other charges, said Army spokesperson Leah Garton. She said that the sentence was "consistent with the terms of a plea agreement.”

Defense attorney Joseph Jordan said his client owned up to his errors. He said the judge also took into consideration that Patterson had a brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder.

“He took responsibility for exactly what he did wrong, and that is why his sentence was only a reprimand. It is important to remember that this is a decorated combat veteran who suffers greatly from documented PTSD and TBI,” Jordan said. "All of that was taken into account, yesterday.”

Patterson, of Weare, New Hampshire, was deployed with his unit to the southern border in October 2022 and assigned to support U.S. Border Patrol. In January 2023, the Army opened an investigation and Patterson, then commander, was reassigned, an Army spokesperson said previously. The investigation concluded in May and led to the court-martial at Joint Base San Antonio–Fort Sam Houston in which Patterson pleaded guilty.

The Army has not released details on the actions that led to Patterson being charged and did not immediately provide additional information Thursday.

Jordan described the circumstances as a “four-month situation” and said "there are absolutely no clean hands by any party to this case, including the alleged victims.