Independent prosecutor possible for military sexual misconduct cases

In response to years of frustration over the Defense Department’s handling of sexual assault cases, a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee is considering making a major change to its legal framework, the Military Times reports.

Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.), chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee told reporters at a Feb. 24 event, that the possibility of establishing an independent prosecutor to handle all sex crimes in the military is on the table, which would be a significant change to the Uniform Code of Military Justice, the article notes.

According to the report, military leaders have objected to the idea, contending it would upend the current chain of command and remove the responsibility of addressing the issue from unit leaders, which is exactly what supporters of the change prefer, noting that an outside prosecutor would be more impartial.

Reader comments

Thu, Feb 25, 2021 Ben Toyama Hawaii

The independent prosecutor should also be for civilians working in the DoD with a military commander. The sexual harassment that they don’t see is because the military leadership are not held accountable for sexual harassment under their command. The military command delegates the responsibility to the command level below them, who in turn delegates the responsibility to the level down, until the perpetrators are in charge to investigate and resolve the claims. The system fails the victims and the victims are left with nothing. The Navy in Pearl Harbor delegates the investigation of a claim of sexual harassment to the superintendent that failed to correct the discrimination or sexual harassment.

Wed, Feb 24, 2021 Sergio CA

This is a great idea, since some unit leaders just brush it off, give the servicemember a slap on the wrist or just transfer the person to another unit. The prosecutor though should be assigned if the victim doesn't get any justice or treated unfairly by Command.

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