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.


 
 

 

Social media requires care, caution with political material

BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. (AFNS) – Most Americans are born with a political rattle in their hands and learn to shake it early. While U.S. culture promotes opinions and debate, Airmen should be reminded that, while on active duty — and even for reservists who may be perceived as active military representatives, participating in politics...
 
 

New school directory guides parents of special-needs kids

WASHINGTON (AFNS) — A permanent-change-of-station move prompts its own challenges, but family members with special-needs children face another complexity when looking for the right schools at their new home, a Defense Department official said here July 2. Ed Tyner, acting deputy director of DOD’s special needs program, told DoD News that service members and their...
 
 

Airmen encouraged to review vRED

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas (AFNS) – When Airmen go through major changes in their life, such as marriage, a permanent change of station, or having a child, one of the first things that should come to mind is, “I have to update my Virtual Record of Emergency Data,” or vRED. While this is not always the...
 

 

Base celebrates first LGBT Pride Month

Desert Lightning Team Members celebrated LGBT Pride Month for the first time this June. LGBT stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender. “LGBT Pride Month is our time to bring awareness and to take pride and acceptance of one’s sexual orientation and/or gender identity,” said Airman 1st Class Christiaan-Emil Guerra, 355th Component Maintenance Squadron electronic...
 
 

Obama: Investment in veterans produces tomorrow’s leaders

WASHINGTON — The promise of a better tomorrow made to U.S. military veterans of World War II seven decades ago with the signing of the original GI Bill is the same promise the nation is keeping with its newest veterans and their families through the Post-9/11 GI Bill, President Barack Obama said in an opinion...
 
 

Officials offer advice for peak moving season

SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. – Help is available for service members, civilians and their families making a permanent-change-of-station move this summer, Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command officials here said. SDDC, a component of U.S. Transportation Command, provides global deployment and distribution services to meet the nation’s objectives and deploys or sustains about 90...
 




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