Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Op-ed on Alaska National Guard sexual assault report

A former member of the Alaska National Guard has written a powerful op-ed demanding follow-up by Governor Sean Parnell to a recent report by the National Guard Bureau about the handling of sexual assault cases. He writes in part:
Contained in the bureau report is a compelling paragraph that might lend some illumination to an otherwise paradoxical situation of men and women in high places in our state government ceding their authority in defending our state constitution and the rights of the victims by subordination of that authority and those rights in favor of a non-criminal NGB investigation. The following paragraph from the bureau report demonstrates the attitude of [Major General Thomas H.] Katkus’s regime and the chain of command in the guard regarding the rights of the victims.
2) The Team found that all of the victims that have reported assault through the Alaska National Guard Sexual Assault Prevention and Response program since 2012 ... have been referred, when permitted, to law enforcement entities for investigation.
"When permitted"? What does that mean? That these women had no rights to simply go to the civil police with their complaints?
There are no such regulations in the guard or the U.S. military that would deny an individual their rights under the law, civil or military. Yet, that is exactly what has happened. And, the governor left the guard chain of command responsible for the current mess largely intact.

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