Military Sexual Assault a Real Scandal Hits Washington

sexual misconduct

Hearings begin in Washington today that are long overdue.  Sexual assault in the military is on the rise.  Washington finally will hear testimony about a ‘real scandal’.

Congress is considering removing sexual assault cases from military commanders, and place those cases in the hands of uniformed officers.  The military brass, including Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey, oppose the idea.

Recent testimony by women in, or formerly in, the military, presents valid reasons why commanders, who continue to dominant leadership positions on our nation’s military bases, should not be allowed to handle complaints of sexual impropriety.  Reason one, and the one that sums it all up; they have failed miserably, and continue to protect the violators.

If a conviction for sexual assault is attained, commanding officers frequently overturn the decision, and expunge the incident from the male soldier’s record.

Conversely, women in the military who file complaints, frequently become targeted by their senior officers.  Career officers are often passed over for promotion, and even harassed until they are forced to resign.  Many women, who have chosen to make the military their career, do not file charges, fearful of the repercussions.

General Dempsey admitted the military is in crisis over this scandalous issue, but hinted that it may be because ‘of the strain of battle’.  I have to remind the General that these women served in battle alongside their male counterparts, and deserve the admiration and respect that is given to male soldiers.

Anonymously reported cases of sexual assault in the military rose from 19,000 in 2011 to 26,000 in 2012.  Formerly filed cases rose 6 percent to 3,374.

“The service chiefs, however, made clear in recent letters to the Senate panel’s leadership that they do not favor a leading proposal that would give uniformed prosecutors, instead of commanders, the authority to open criminal investigations into sexual assault cases and bring them to trial. Such a change, they argued, would undermine the foundation of military culture by sending a message that commanders cannot be trusted to make good decisions.”

On the battlefield, military hierarchy is in complete control of the outcome.  They are incapable of handling the sensitive and demeaning situation of the accepted behavior of males in the military in relation to sexual misconduct.  This is the biggest scandal to hit Washington in years.

Giving commanders God-like authority over each case of a filed sexual assault charge is tantamount to having a Catholic Priest, who cannot have any relations with the opposite sex, be your marriage counselor.  What does either of them know and understand about the situation?

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., would take all serious crimes including sexual assault investigations in the Armed Forces out of the control of the chain of command and instead have military prosecutors decide which cases to try. The intent is to encourage men and women to report such attacks without fear of retaliation.  Her proposal will be at the center of the hearings by the Senate Armed Services Committee Tuesday.

Three Service Members In Charge Of Sexual Assault Prevention Programs Are Under Investigation For Sexual Assault.

Lt. Col. Jeff Krusinski, chief of the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office, was arrested for sexual assault.  He is accused of groping a woman in an Arlington parking lot.

“The victim fought the suspect off as he attempted to touch her again and alerted police,” the crime report said said.  “Jeffrey Krusinski, 41, of Arlington, Va., was arrested and charged with sexual battery.”

Sgt. 1st Class Gregory McQueen, the coordinator of a sexual assault prevention program at Fort Hood, is under investigation for “abusive sexual conduct.”  Accusations include; pandering, abusive sexual contact, assault and maltreatment of subordinates.

Lt. Col. Darin Haas, Fort Campbell’s sexual harassment program manager, has been removed from his position.  He was arrested for violating a protection order acquired by his ex-wife.  He is accused of stalking her, and sending her threatening texts.

All of us who have been in the military understand the difference between uniformed military and those in command.  Officers have goals.  Those goals are to rise in rank as quickly as possible.  By the time an officer attains the rank of ‘Major’, he is looking toward Lieutenant Colonel, and is fully aware that his promotions are governed by politics as well as his military service.

Multiple sexual assault cases on a single base can cause serious questions about the commander’s leadership ability.  Women have reported efforts by their commanders to drop cases, or have been told that “men will be men.”

Tuesday’s hearings in Washington will finally be involved with a true scandal, sexual assault in the military.

James Turnage

The Guardian Express


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