|Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.)|
Associated Press reporter Richard Lardner has this article on questions being raised about the 2014 data on sexual assault in the U.S. armed forces. A report issued by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) in response to the those data:
said the case files contradict the Pentagon's assertion that military commanders will be tough on service members accused of sex crimes. Gillibrand has backed legislation that would remove commanders from the process of deciding whether serious crimes, including sexual misconduct cases, go to trial. That judgment would rest with seasoned military attorneys who have prosecutorial experience. The Pentagon is opposed to the change.
Gillibrand's request for the case files followed a February 2014 Associated Press investigation into the U.S. military's handling of sexual assault cases in Japan that revealed a pattern of random and inconsistent judgments in which most offenders are not incarcerated. AP obtained through the Freedom of Information Act more than 1,000 reports of sex crimes involving U.S. military personnel based in Japan between 2005 and early 2013.
To determine whether the same situation existed at major U.S. bases, Gillibrand asked then-Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel for the details of sexual assault cases investigated and adjudicated from 2009 to 2014 at four large U.S. military bases: the Army's Fort Hood in Texas, Naval Station Norfolk in Virginia, the Marine Corps' Camp Pendleton in California and Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio.
In December, nearly 10 months later, the Pentagon provided case files just for 2013, Gillibrand said, and those 107 cases were delivered only after former Sen. Carl Levin, then chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, intervened. At the time, Gillibrand led the committee's military personnel panel.
The refusal to provide the data, Gillibrand's report said, "calls into question the department's commitment to transparency and getting to the root of the problem."Sen. Gillibrand has objected that spouses of military personnel as well as civilians who live or work near military installations are not included in DoD's sexual assault surveys.