Friday, April 23, 2021

IRC recommends changes for sex offenses

Lolita C. Baldor of the Associated Press reports here on the Independent Review Commission's recommendations to Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III. They were submitted yesterday and await his review. Excerpt from Ms. Baldor's article:

"The review panel said that for certain special victims crimes, designated independent judge advocates reporting to a civilian-led office of the Chief Special Victim Prosecutor should decide two key legal questions: whether to charge someone and, ultimately, if that charge should go to a court martial, the officials said. The crimes would include sexual assault, sexual harassment and, potentially, certain hate crimes.

"According to the officials, that recommendation would affect a small fraction of the wide range of military discipline cases that commanders regularly handle.

"The panel also is recommending that sexual harassment claims be investigated outside the chain of command, and that if a charge is substantiated, the military should immediately begin the process of discharging that person from the force while other legal proceedings continue."

The IRC's charter does not indicate whether the Department will seek comments from the public before Secretary Austin decides on the recommendations.

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