U.S.

July 25, 2013

Commanders should retain prosecution authority, leaders say

Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON – The nation’s top military leaders told senators today that commanders should retain responsibility for prosecuting service members accused of sexual assault.

Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Navy Adm. James A. Winnefeld Jr., the vice chairman, told the Senate Armed Services Committee that taking that authority away could harm good order and discipline.

Dempsey and Winnefeld are under Senate consideration for second two-year terms in their posts.

Keeping commanders in the process ensures there is an active deterrent to the crime, Winnefeld said. “Somebody who is contemplating a sexual assault knows that they’re going to be caught, that they’re going to be prosecuted, and if they’re prosecuted, they’re going to be punished,” he said. “It’s our strong view that the commander is responsible for that.”

Dempsey told the senators that Army officials have looked at the numbers on sexual assault prosecutions over the past two years and found 35 cases in which civilian district attorneys refused to take sexual assault cases to court.

“And the chain of command in the military insisted that the case be taken inside the military chain of command,” he said.

Of those cases, 25 resulted in a court-martial conviction.

“That’s a 71 percent conviction rate,” the chairman said. The civilian rate is between 18 and 22 percent.

Dempsey stressed that this was done because commanders insisted on taking these cases. “I worry that if we turn this over to somebody else, whether it’s a civilian DA or an entity in the military, that they’re going to make the same kind of decisions that those civilian prosecutors make,” he said.

Commanders must be responsible for ensuring the command climate does not tolerate sexual assault in any manner, Winnefeld said.

“It’s about teaching people what a heinous crime this is,” he added. “It’s about reporting it if you see it. It’s about intervening if you see it about to happen — a whole host of measures that commanders must take to establish the climate inside their commands.”

The Marine Corps also had examples similar to the Army, the admiral said. The Marine Corps went back to 2010 and found 28 cases in which civilian prosecutors declined to take the case.

“Of those, 16 of them, the Marine Corps was able to obtain a conviction of court-martial — 57 percent,” Winnefeld said. “So those are 16 perpetrators that are no longer walking the street and 16 victims who received justice who would not have received it otherwise.”




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
(U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Adam Grant)

AFSOUTH Liaison Officers: Embarking on a journey toward a promising future

Colonel Alex Voigt has only been serving as the Air Forces Southern Chilean Liaison Officer at Davis-Monthan for a couple of months, but with a history of Chilean LNOs reaching the rank of general and one even going on to serve...
 
 

D-M commander mixes it up with ‘The Morning Blend’

(U.S. Air Force Photo by Airman 1st Class Chris Massey) U.S. Air Force Col. James P. Meger, 355th Fighter Wing commander, Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., talks with TV hosts, Tina Jennings and Maria Parmigiani, during a live recording of “The Morning Blend” at KGUN9 Studio, Tucson, Nov. 24. Meger went on the show to...
 
 

Let’s talk turkey: Prepare the perfect bird this holiday season

Whether having a big group over to share the Thanksgiving festivities or it’s just you and the Family, the centerpiece of any Thanksgiving table is the turkey. Guests will graze around the appetizer table careful not to fill their bellies in anticipation of the plump, juicy turkey and all the fixin’s. Most people aren’t world-renowned...
 

 
DoD

New allotment rule protects troops from lending scams

WASHINGTON (AFNS) — Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has directed a policy change in new paycheck allotments to prevent unscrupulous commercial lenders from taking advantage of troops and their families, Pentagon officials said Nov. 21. According to a Defense Department news release, effective Jan. 1, 2015, the change in DOD’s financial management regulation will prohibit service...
 
 

Officials highlight health, wellness resources for Military Families

WASHINGTON, Nov. 21 – As efforts continue to strengthen service members and their families, Pentagon officials held a Bloggers Roundtable to highlight the myriad resources available to tackle the unique military and transitional challenges those who serve may face. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Military Community and Family Policy Rosemary Freitas Williams, Marine Corps...
 
 

Thanksgiving and our Native Americans

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — On the fourth Thursday of every November, we as Americans celebrate the national holiday Thanksgiving. This day focuses on honoring the early settlers, and their harvest feast, which we know to be the “First Thanksgiving.” However, long before settlers came to the United States’ East Coast, the area was inhabited by...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin