Reported Sexual Assaults in Military Skyrocket As Air Force Chief of Ending Assault Charged With Sexual Battery
French Roast News
Anne is reading …
Great news for the poor women of Texas! The New York Times reports that legislators on both sides of the aisle are quietly working to restore financing for women’s health services in the state.The story reports that Dems aren’t falling on their sword for Planned Parenthood — a statement we find misleading, because the PP issue is already taken care of through the recent funding of a Texas women’s health coalition, of which Planned Parenthood is a key member.
“The major difference is we’re not fighting about it. We’re just doing what’s right for women and the state,” State Representative Sarah Davis, Republican of West University Place, said last month at a Texas Tribune symposium on health care.
While Davis is opposed to abortion, she is even more opposed to politicians interfering with the doctor/patient relationship. The Republican woman has emerged as the chief architect of a plan to restore the devastating cuts to poor women’s health services, including access to contraception.
As poor women in particular have suffered at the hands of the Republican War on Women in Texas, the tide may be turning. Further denying women abortion rights is in a holding pattern, with NONE of the 24 abortion-related bills filed reaching the House or Senate floor.
Military Assault Skyrocket
Responding angrily Tuesday to a new report on the steep rise of sexual assault in the military, New York Democrat Senator Kirsten Gillibrand cold barely contain her anger at Air Force Secretary Michael Conley. The Pentagon says that in 2012 alone, 26,000 members of the military were sexually assaulted, a 35 percent rise since 2011.
Next week Gillibrand will introduce a bill that removes decision-making on sexual assault cases from the chain of command, says Glen Caplin, the senator’s communications director.
“You have an enormous gap between the number of sex assaults that are occurring and the number of sex assaults that are being reported,” Caplin said. According to the Department of Defense, 47 percent of servicemembers said they didn’t report sexual assaults and harassment for fear of retaliation.
Presently, the military operates under a code called “convening authority”, giving military commanders the power to overturn court-martial decisions, including those dealing with rape.
Gillibrand’s bill would apply Secretary of Defence Chuck Hagel’s recent suggestion that “convening authority” be eliminated, by amending the Uniform Military Code of Justice’s Article 60 so so that “convening authorities” cannot set aside convictions or change guilty ones. Her bill would also add independent prosecutors who decide whether a case warrants a court-martial, but reserve commanders’ convening authority for the cases that aren’t moved forward in this new process.
Sens. Patty Murray D-Wash and Kelly Ayotte R-NH introduced legislation to amend Pentagon policies while creating new laws to help victims.
“Murray and Ayotte’s bill, the Combating Military Sexual Assault Act, would guarantee victims access to an advocacy lawyer to guide them through the reporting, investigation and criminal law process following an allegation,” writes the Air Force Times.
Air Force Chief Charged
The Air Force officer in charge of the the branch’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response unit was charged with a misdemeanor offence of groping a woman in a parking lot on May 6, 2013. The misdemeanor sexual battery charge alleges that Lt. Col. Jeffrey Krusinski was drunk and grabbed a woman’s breast and buttocks. The woman fought back before calling police.
Responding to the news, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said “We’re all outraged and disgusted over these very troubling allegations.”
Hagel said he would hold military commanders accountable “at every level,” improve the treatment of assault victims and conduct regular inspections of military workplaces to guard against “materials that create a degrading and offensive work environment,” writes Bloomberg.
The Air Force is “still reeling” from the convictions of at least five military instructors in sexual assault or unprofessional relationships with trainees or students at San Antonio’s Lackland Air Force Base.
Krusinski, who has served in his post since February, posted a $5,000 bond and was removed from his job pending an investigation.