In our previous blog, we discussed the latest effort in a long line of many to pass a comprehensive military sexual assault bill. On Tuesday of last week, the bill fell short of earning the 60 votes needed to move ahead in the Senate with only 49 senators voting in support of the measure.
Military sexual assault has become a hot button issue nationwide, especially as more data becomes available about the true nature of the problem. Leading up to last week’s vote, the bill’s author - U.S. Senator Kirsten Gilibrand of New York - had also boldly criticized the Department of Defense for severely under-reporting sex-related violence in the armed forces.
Here are some additional details about the bill and why it fell short:
- The bill was designed to improve enforcement and reporting of sexual assaults and other sex-related crimes in the military, as well as assisting victims in their fight for justice.
- Had the bill passed, it would have created an independent justice system to prosecute rape crimes that occur in the military, thereby relieving responsibility from the military chain of command for prosecuting sex crimes.
- Military officials opposed the reform bill, stating that it would undermine authority. President Obama also positioned himself against the bill.
Although many have called for sweeping changes to the system responsible for prosecuting military sex crimes, there is no doubt that officials have placed an emphasis on taking allegations seriously. As such, any member of the military charged with a sex offense should expect aggressive prosecution and harsh penalties if convicted.
The Federal Practice Group fields an experienced military criminal defense team dedicated to protecting the rights and futures of service members charged with all types of crimes, including sexual assault. To discuss your case and how our firm can help, contact us today.