Friday, March 7, 2014
Despite a well documented epidemic of sexual assaults committed against women in the military and the failure of military commanders to decide to prosecute the alleged offenders, the Senate failed yesterday to muster enough votes to overcome a filibuster against a bill that would have removed military commanders from deciding whether to prosecute an alleged offender.
Senator Kirsten E. Gillibrand (D) of New York sponsored the bill, which despite bipartisan support, only mustered 55 votes. 60 votes were required to overcome the filibuster.
Senator Rand Paul (R) of Kentucky and Senator Charles Grassley (R) of Iowa supported the bill.
Senator Claire McCaskill (D) of Missouri led the opposition, despite several recent highly publicized cases, including the trial of Brigadier General Jeffrey A. Sinclair. He is charged with two counts of forcing a captain to give him a blow job and with threatening to kill her, if she revealed their three-year affair. He already pled guilty to having improper relationships with two other women and to committing adultery with the Captain. His trial started today at Fort Bragg in North Carolina.
As of September 30th of last year, over 1600 complaints of sexual assault have not been processed.
After defeating Senator Gillibrand’s bill, the Senate voted 100-0 to advance a related bill proposed by Senator McCaskill to the floor for a vote next week. This bill would change the current procedure by referring sexual assault complaints to a civilian review board, if a military commander and a prosecutor disagree about prosecuting an alleged offender.
I do not see any compelling reason to continue to include military commanders in the decision-making process. They cannot help but be biased since they often know the accuser and the accused and they have proven that they cannot handle the responsibility.
For more information on yesterday’s shenanigans in the Senate, go here to read the New Yorr Times report.
For more information on the trial of Brigadier General Jeffrey Sinclair, go here.
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