Gillibrand, Outside Group Push Back Against Military Sexual Assault Report

Victims advocates have pressed for the decision to prosecute a sexual-assault case be taken away from the military chain of command.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) speaks while U.S. military leaders testify before the Senate Armed Services Committee on pending legislation regarding sexual assaults in the military June 4, 2013.
Win McNamee/Getty Images
Jordain Carney
Add to Briefcase
Jordain Carney
Jan. 31, 2014, 12:48 p.m.

Sen. Kirsten Gil­librand is push­ing back on a sub­com­mit­tee re­port re­leased Thursday that re­com­men­ded com­mand­ers keep their au­thor­ity in sexu­al as­sault cases.

A ma­jor­ity of the Role of the Com­mand­er sub­com­mit­tee said they didn’t be­lieve re­mov­ing com­mand­ers’ au­thor­ity in mil­it­ary sexu­al-as­sault cases would boost sexu­al-as­sault re­port­ing or re­duce the num­ber of sexu­al as­saults.

“There is noth­ing sur­pris­ing about a Pentagon sub-pan­el work­ing mostly be­hind closed doors sup­port­ing stated Pentagon policy and en­cour­aging more time to wait and see if the prob­lem gets bet­ter. We have waited for too long, be­cause un­der any met­ric, the sys­tem is broken and our ser­vice­mem­bers de­serve bet­ter,” James Rahm, a spokes­per­son for the New York Demo­crat, said.

The sub­com­mit­tee, which has nine mem­bers, was cre­ated as part of the Re­sponse Sys­tems to Adult Sexu­al As­sault Crimes Pan­el, es­tab­lished by the 2013 Na­tion­al De­fense Au­thor­iz­a­tion Act.

And Pro­tect Our De­fend­ers, a mil­it­ary sexu­al-as­sault vic­tims ad­vocacy group, quickly hit back at the re­port.

“The idea that pro­fes­sion­al, in­de­pend­ent, justice is good enough for Amer­ic­an cit­izens, but not for those who risk their lives to pro­tect our val­ues is un-Amer­ic­an,” said Pro­tect Our De­fend­ers Pres­id­ent Nancy Par­rish, in a state­ment.”… This pan­el has so far de­cided to stand with the status quo and the hol­low Pentagon prom­ises of ‘zero tol­er­ance.’”

Only one of the nine, Eliza­beth Hill­man, a law pro­fess­or at the Uni­versity of Cali­for­nia Hast­ings Col­lege of the Law, dis­agreed with the sub­com­mit­tee’s re­port, not­ing that com­mand­ers “are neither es­sen­tial nor well-suited for their cur­rent role in the leg­al pro­cess of crim­in­al pro­sec­u­tion.”

Mem­bers of Con­gress have changed how the mil­it­ary deals with sexu­al-as­sault cases in the past few Na­tion­al De­fense Au­thor­iz­a­tion Acts, in­clud­ing re­mov­ing a com­mand­er’s abil­ity to over­turn jury con­vic­tions and re­quir­ing a ci­vil­ian re­view if a com­mand­er de­cides against pro­sec­ut­ing.

The sub­com­mit­tee’s re­port sug­gests that more time is needed to see if such changes can cre­ate “mean­ing­ful im­prove­ments” be­fore mak­ing a “sys­tem­ic” change.

What We're Following See More »
IT’S OFFICIAL
Trump to Nominate Carson to Lead HUD
2 hours ago
THE LATEST

As has been rumored for a week, Donald Trump will nominate Ben Carson, his former rival, to lead the Department of Housing and Urban Development. In a statement, Trump said, "We have talked at length about my urban renewal agenda and our message of economic revival, very much including our inner cities. Ben shares my optimism about the future of our country and is part of ensuring that this is a Presidency representing all Americans. He is a tough competitor and never gives up."

Source:
TOO COSTLY, SAYS GREEN PARTY
Stein Drops Pennsylvania Recount
2 hours ago
THE LATEST

"Supporters of Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein on Saturday withdrew a last-ditch lawsuit in Pennsylvania state court aimed at forcing a statewide ballot recount, another major setback in the effort to verify the votes in three states that provided President-elect Donald Trump his margin of victory. Ms. Stein’s campaign announced in a statement Saturday that the Pennsylvania lawsuit had been dropped after the court demanded that a $1 million bond be posted by the 100 Pennsylvania residents who brought the suit."

Source:
ANOTHER MORNING TWEETSTORM
Trump Threatens 35% Tariff on Companies that Move Overseas
2 hours ago
THE LATEST

In a series of early-morning tweets on Sunday, Donald Trump threatened companies that attempt to relocate out of the country. "Any business that leaves our country for another country, fires its employees, builds a new factory or plant in the other country, and then thinks it will sell its product back into the U.S. without retribution or consequence, is WRONG!," he wrote. "There will be a tax on our soon to be strong border of 35% for these companies."

Source:
EASEMENT DENIED
Army Corps Stopping Work on Dakota Pipeline
2 hours ago
THE LATEST

"The Army Corps of Engineers has decided to deny the easement for the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, the National Congress of American Indians said in a statement Sunday. The decision would essentially halt the construction of the oil pipeline right above the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation and it also comes as demonstrators across the country flocked to North Dakota in protest."

Source:
LOSES REFERENDUM VOTE
Italian Prime Minister to Step Down
2 hours ago
WHY WE CARE

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi will submit his resignation today, after a referendum vote went against his side. The development represents yet another win for populism around the globe, as the populist 5 Stars Movement, Renzi's chief rivals, took 60 percent of the vote. Renzi claimed the reforms "were vital to modernize Italy."

Source:
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login