Shaheen: Congress must address military sexual assault

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) called on Congress to pass the Military Justice Improvement Act to address military sexual assaults.

“We need to pass legislation like the Military Justice Improvement Act to change the way these heinous crimes are addressed because what we’re doing right now simply isn’t working,” Shaheen said Thursday.

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Earlier this year, the Senate fell a few votes short in order to pass the Military Justice Improvement Act, which would take the decision to prosecute a sexual assault case out of the chain of command.

Shaheen’s renewed call for action was prompted by reports that a top Army general who mishandled a sexual assault case was reassigned to a top position within the Pentagon and that the commander of the Blue Angels is being investigated for sexual misconduct.

“These troubling reports highlight the need to implement significant reforms to address the military’s sexual assault crisis,” Shaheen said.

Provisions aimed at helping victims of sexual assault in the military were added to the 2014 National Defense Authorization Act, but some lawmakers, including Shaheen and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), wanted a sweeping overhaul of the military justice system because they said the current structure prevents service members from reporting sexual assaults, which are rampant within the military. 

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