Pentagon watchdog identifies problems with sexual assault investigations

Investigations with significant deficiencies included cases where key evidence was not collected, crime scenes weren’t examined, witness and subject interview weren’t conducted or thorough or when re-interviews did not happen after new information came to light.

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The report found that 72 percent of the cases, 362 out of 501, contained some deficiencies, but they did not have a negative impact on the investigation. Eighty-three of the cases had no deficiencies.

The inspector general review included cases from the Army, Navy and Air Force military criminal investigative organizations. The cases included involved rape, attempted rape, aggravated sexual assault or contact, forcible sodomy and assault with intent to commit rape.

The inspector general made multiple recommendations, including a change in policy over the collection of clothing worn after an assault and increased coordination with judge advocate generals.

The report could fuel debate in Congress over military sexual assault, where lawmakers are considering making major changes to the military's judicial code. Most of the debate has focused on a commander's decision to prosecute a case or review a jury's verdict, and not way the investigations are conducted.