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More Sexual Assaults Are Reported In The Military, But Fewer Cases Are Going To Trial
More cases of military sexual assault are being reported, but fewer are being referred to courts-martial because commanders are increasingly relying on administrative action and discharges for accused offenders, according to the latest report on sexual assaults in the military.
The drop in courts-martial may be due in part to changes in the Uniform Code of Military Justice since 2012, said Nate Galbreath, deputy director of the Pentagon’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office.
“In our conversations with military justice attorneys, they’ve talked a little bit about how the rules have changed — that you need more evidence to go forward in certain cases than others,” Galbreath told reporters on Monday. “So that reduces the percentage that they may be able to take action on because they need more evidence. Some of those cases went into ‘insufficient evidence of a crime to prosecute.’”
When pressed on whether changes in the UCMJ have made it harder to prosecute sexual assault cases, Galbreath replied, “I can’t say that.”
Overall, the number of reported cases of sexual assault rose nearly 10%, from 6,172 in fiscal 2016 to 6,769 in fiscal 2017, Pentagon statistics show. The Army reported 2,706 cases of sexual assault, an increase of 8.4%; the Navy reported 1,585 cases, an increase of 9.3%; the the Air Force reported 1,480 cases, an increase of 9.2%; and the Marine Corps saw a nearly 15% increase, with a total of 998 reported cases.
The percentage of substantiated sexual assault cases in which charges were preferred to courts-martial has dropped from 71% in fiscal 2013 to 54% in fiscal 2017, according to the data. In that same time period, the percentage of cases resolved through administrative action and discharges has increased from 12 to 26%.
“This probably reflects more of victim choice here,” Galbreath said. “Because it’s very, very challenging to go through the court-martial process and testify, victims may opt to not testify. Rather, commanders are now left with administrative actions and discharges to hold people appropriately accountable. That’s probably why we saw an increase in those.”
Galbreath stressed that the Pentagon cannot mandate that a certain number of sexual assault cases go to court-martial, because doing so would be considered unlawful command influence, and the alleged offenders would be able to walk free. In May 2017, an airman’s conviction for rape and assault was overturned over the appearance of unlawful command influence by Air Force leadership.
The Service Women’s Action Network issued a statement on Monday decrying the drop in courts-martial and convictions for sexual assault.
“An increase in reporting is only good if it leads to justice,” Lydia Watts, CEO of the group, said in the statement. “It hasn't. Despite the increase in reporting, actual convictions from sexual assault reports have decreased over the last three years. The military is encouraging victims to come forward, and when they do, it hangs them out to dry.”
BANGKOK (Reuters) - The United States and South Korea said on Sunday they will postpone upcoming military drills in an effort to bolster a stalled peace push with North Korea, even as Washington denied the move amounted to another concession to Pyongyang.
The drills, known as the Combined Flying Training Event, would have simulated air combat scenarios and involved an undisclosed number of warplanes from both the United States and South Korea.
An opening ceremony will be held Monday on Hawaii island for a military exercise with China that will involve about 100 People's Liberation Army soldiers training alongside U.S. Army counterparts.
This comes after Adm. Phil Davidson, head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, spoke on Veterans Day at Punchbowl cemetery about the "rules-based international order" that followed U.S. victory in the Pacific in World War II, and China's attempts to usurp it.
Those American standards "are even more important today," Davidson said, "as malicious actors like the Communist Party of China seek to redefine the international order through corruption, malign cyber activities, intellectual property theft, restriction of individual liberties, military coercion and the direct attempts to override other nations' sovereignty."
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump on Sunday told North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to "act quickly" to reach a deal with the United States, in a tweet weighing in on North Korea's criticism of his political rival former Vice President Joe Biden.
Trump, who has met Kim three times since 2018 over ending the North's missile and nuclear programs, addressed Kim directly, referring to the one-party state's ruler as "Mr. Chairman".
In his tweet, Trump told Kim, "You should act quickly, get the deal done," and hinted at a further meeting, signing off "See you soon!"
It is impossible to tune out news about the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump now that the hearings have become public. And this means that cable news networks and Congress are happier than pigs in manure: this story will dominate the news for the foreseeable future unless Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt get back together.
But the wall-to-wall coverage of impeachment mania has also created a news desert. To those of you who would rather emigrate to North Korea than watch one more lawmaker grandstand for the cameras, I humbly offer you an oasis of news that has absolutely nothing to do with Washington intrigue.
MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia will return three captured naval ships to Ukraine on Monday and is moving them to a handover location agreed with Kiev, Crimea's border guard service was cited as saying by Russian news agencies on Sunday.
A Reuters reporter in Crimea, which Russian annexed from Ukraine in 2014, earlier on Sunday saw coastguard boats pulling the three vessels through the Kerch Strait toward the Black Sea where they could potentially be handed over to Ukraine.