Quantcast
Connect with us

Sen. Levin joins with Pentagon to fight change in sexual assault reporting

Published

on

By Patricia Zengerle

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The chairman of the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee on Wednesday released letters from Pentagon officials defending the military’s system for handling sexual assault cases, fending off a fellow Democratic senator’s plan for sweeping changes to deal with the rise in sexual assaults.

ADVERTISEMENT

The letters released by Senator Carl Levin raised arguments against a plan from Senator Kirsten Gillibrand that would shift the decision on whether to pursue sexual assault cases to an independent military prosecutor from the victim’s commander.

Gillibrand’s plan was rejected by the Armed Services Committee last month but is now publicly supported by 43 members of the 100-member Senate.

Gillibrand will submit her plan to the full Senate as an amendment to the annual defense spending bill. She has said she is confident she will get at least the 51 votes it would need to pass.

In one of the letters released by Levin, Admiral James Winnefeld, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, cited dozens of cases within the past two years in which civilian prosecutors declined to prosecute sexual assault cases, but military commanders pursued them, resulting in convictions.

ADVERTISEMENT

In another, Army Brigadier General Richard Gross, the legal counsel to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said U.S. allies such as Britain and Australia had removed responsibility for prosecution from the chain of command, but had done so to better protect the rights of the accused, not the victims.

“The letters give some significant evidence … as to why the committee got this thing right in not removing that weapon from the commanders,” Levin told reporters on a conference call.

Debate over the military’s sexual assault problem has been intense since a spate of high-profile cases and a Pentagon study in May showing incidences of unwanted sexual contact, from groping to rape, were up 37 percent in 2012 from 2011.

ADVERTISEMENT

Gillibrand has failed to win over most Senate Republicans and some Democrats including Levin, who argues that commanders need the threat of court martial to change the military culture.

Pentagon leaders also strongly oppose Gillibrand’s plan, saying they fear it would weaken the chain of command.

(Reporting by Patricia Zengerle; Editing by Vicki Allen)

ADVERTISEMENT

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and legal efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. And unlike other news outlets, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from billionaires and corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click to donate by check.

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.



Report typos and corrections to: [email protected]. Send news tips to: [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

Facebook

GOP lawmaker cut the mic on black woman’s facts — but let white men spew ‘lunacy and lies’: report

Published

on

The Republican chair of a Tennessee legislative committee is under fire for cutting off the microphone while a woman of color was speaking -- but allowing white men to spew "lunacy."

"It took all of five minutes for Sen. Mike Bell, chairman of the Tennessee General Assembly’s Judiciary Committee, to prove Cherisse Scott’s point. Scott is founder and CEO of Sister Reach, a Memphis organization that fights for reproductive freedom and health for rural women and girls of color struggling with poverty," Memphis Commercial Appeal columnist Tonyaa Weathersbee explained.

Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Here’s why Jeffrey Epstein surrounded himself with scientists

Published

on

The list of confidants and friends who were fêted by the late financier and alleged sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein included a number of prominent scientists. Among the eye-popping names that appeared on the list: the late cosmologist Stephen Hawking, Nobel-winning physicist Murray Gell-Mann, evolutionary biologist Stephen Jay Gould, physicist Frank Wilczek, neurologist Oliver Sacks, and geneticist George M. Church.

Continue Reading
 

Breaking Banner

Trump just humiliated his own son with an absurd tweet about Greenland

Published

on

President Donald Trump confirmed multiple reports this weekend when he said that he does, indeed, hope to buy Greenland and make it part of the United States.

Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen has said that the country, which is part of the Kingdom of Denmark, is “not for sale”: “Greenland belongs to Greenland.” Which should be the end of the story. Unfortunately, it’s not.

On Monday, Trump sent the following tweet, apparently trying to quell suspicions that the president just regards Greenland as another place to expand his business empire:

Continue Reading
 
 

Thank you for whitelisting Raw Story!

As a special thank you, from now until August 31st, we're offering you a discounted rate of $5.99/month to subscribe and get ad-free access. We're honored to have you as a reader. Thank you. :) —Elias, Membership Coordinator
LEARN MORE
close-link
close-image