U.S. Senator Criticizes Defense Department Over Military Sex Crime Reporting
Posted By The Federal Practice Group Worldwide Service || 12-May-2015
In a boisterous critique of the Defense Department’s attempts to get a handle on sexual assaults in the military, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York stated that military sex crimes may be a much bigger problem than most believe. Gillibrand, who authored a report on the issue, accused the Department of Defense of vastly underreporting sex-related violence in the military. She also stated that victims continue to struggle for justice.
In an interview, the Senator bluntly stated that she believes that military is not being honest about the true nature of the problem. Gillibrand - who formerly led the Senate Armed Services Committee - also conducted an analysis of assault cases from four major military bases. The Defense Department took 10 months to provide her with documentation of just 107 cases from 2013, though she had asked for cases spanning from 2009-2014.
Gillibrand’s analysis noted the following:
- Less than a quarter of cases went to trial
- 11 of 107 cases resulted in a sex crime conviction
- Female civilians were victims in over half the cases
Gillibrand’s report and interview have again generated widespread attention over military justice reform and sexual assault in the military. It also provides a conflicting opinion to recently released Defense Department reports showing progress in managing sexual abuse and assault in the armed services - specifically as more victims are willing to step forward knowing offenders will be held accountable.
Although there are two sides to this conversation, what’s clear is that many people - including federal officials and everyday citizens - are aware of the troubling military sexual assault problem. While changes must certainly be made, change may be made more difficult by the harsh climate surrounding the issue.
At The Federal Practice Group, our military criminal defense attorneys are committed to protecting the rights, careers, and futures of service members facing all types of allegations. If you have been accused of a crime, our legal team is here to help. Contact us today to discuss your case. We serve clients worldwide.