In a boisterous critique of the Defense Department’s attempts to
get a handle on sexual assaults in the military, U.S. Senator Kirsten
Gillibrand of New York stated that military sex crimes may be a much bigger
problem than most believe. Gillibrand, who authored a report on the issue,
accused the Department of Defense of vastly underreporting sex-related
violence in the military. She also stated that victims continue to struggle
In an interview, the Senator bluntly stated that she believes that military
is not being honest about the true nature of the problem. Gillibrand -
who formerly led the Senate Armed Services Committee - also conducted
an analysis of assault cases from four major military bases. The Defense
Department took 10 months to provide her with documentation of just 107
cases from 2013, though she had asked for cases spanning from 2009-2014.
Gillibrand’s analysis noted the following:
- Less than a quarter of cases went to trial
- 11 of 107 cases resulted in a sex crime conviction
- Female civilians were victims in over half the cases
Gillibrand’s report and interview have again generated widespread
attention over military justice reform and sexual assault in the military.
It also provides a conflicting opinion to recently released Defense Department
reports showing progress in managing sexual abuse and assault in the armed
services - specifically as more victims are willing to step forward knowing
offenders will be held accountable.
Although there are two sides to this conversation, what’s clear is
that many people - including federal officials and everyday citizens -
are aware of the troubling military sexual assault problem. While changes
must certainly be made, change may be made more difficult by the harsh
climate surrounding the issue.
At The Federal Practice Group, our
military criminal defense attorneys are committed to protecting the rights, careers, and futures
of service members facing all types of allegations. If you have been accused
of a crime, our legal team is here to help.
Contact us today to discuss your case. We serve clients worldwide.