No time for deserter's wife 

The U.S. Attorney's Office has dropped the case against Amy Bartell, a Christian pacifist charged by Fort Carson military police with enticing and harboring her husband, an Army soldier who refused to deploy to Iraq.

"We've formally declined to pursue prosecution," says Jeff Dorschner, a spokesman for Colorado's acting U.S. attorney, William Leone.

Bartell's troubles began shortly after she and her husband, Spc. Dale Bartell, became Mennonites last fall. The church is categorically opposed to war, and as early as January, Dale Bartell began asking his superiors at Fort Carson about leaving the Army as a conscientious objector.

He never was granted that status.

When his 3rd Armored Calvary Regiment unit left in April for what would have been his second tour of duty in Iraq, he refused to go, staying on base with his family. He pleaded guilty to desertion and currently is serving a four-month sentence in an Oklahoma military prison.

Dorschner refuses to discuss exactly why the charges against Amy Bartell, who currently is caring for the couple's four children, were dropped. He says Leone's office only argues the merits of cases in court.

Generally, a grand jury, not military police, decides whether or not to file charges in such cases.

As of press time, Fort Carson officials were not prepared to comment on the U.S. attorney's decision.

-- Michael de Yoanna


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