Andrew Tilghman of Military Times has written this interesting article (with a useful video) about the ultimate outcome of sexual assault complaints in the U.S. military, based on recently-released government data for 2014. He writes:
Commanders ultimately received 2,625 cases to consider for court-martial or other legal action. But when those cases were reviewed, 628 were dismissed outright for reasons including: insufficient evidence to prosecute (323); victim declined to participate in the command investigation (248); a command-level legal review said the allegations were legally "unfounded" (48); or the statute of limitations expired (9).
Of the 1,997 accused perpetrators against who commanders substantiated charges, 477 were downgraded to non-sexual assault-related offenses.
Of the 1,550 perpetrators against whom charges were substantiated, commanders decided not to prefer court-martial charges for 552, opting instead for nonjudicial punishment (318), administrative discharge (111) or other "adverse administrative actions" (123).
After commanders preferred court-martial charges against the remaining 998 service members, 273 never made it to trial because either the commander later decided to dismiss the charges (176) or because the accused perpetrator was discharged in lieu of a court-martial (97).
Some 137 court-martial charges remained pending at the end of fiscal 2014.
Of the 588 sexual assault cases that went to trial, 154 alleged perpetrators were acquitted of all charges.
Of the 434 alleged sexual assault perpetrators who were convicted, about 117 were sentenced to punishments other than prison confinement, which may have included punitive discharges, reduction in rank, fines, restrictions or hard labor.
In the final tally, that left 317 service members who were convicted on any sexual assault charge and received a sentence that included jail time.Of these figures, one that jumps out is the high [26%] acquittal rate for cases that went to trial. The 27% no-confinement rate is also surprising. Taken together, these numbers mean that a member taken to trial for sexual assault had a 46% chance of either being acquitted or, if convicted, receiving no jail sentence. Put another way, those who went to trial had only a 54% chance of a sentence to confinement.
Any comments on why these numbers are what they are? (Please use your real name -- anonymous comments will not be posted.)