Rift Among Senate Democrats Over Military Sex Case Prosecution

Posted July 26, 2013 at 4:03pm

USA Today reports that “the battle over who should decide to prosecute sex crimes in the military — lawyers or commanders — has exposed a rift among Senate Democrats on the Armed Services Committee with high stakes for the Pentagon.”

“The debate that raged earlier this summer looks like it will erupt again early in fall. The stakes are high: sexual assaults in the military are the wound that will not heal and Congress has vowed to address it; the Pentagon says the discipline it needs to fight rest in a commander’s supreme authority.”

“The military dodged a bullet earlier this summer when the committee killed a proposal by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., to strip unit commanders of their authority to prosecute sexual assault cases. Instead, a proposal backed by Sen. Carl Levin, the committee chairman from Michigan, prevailed, allowing commanders to retain the authority to prosecute those cases but, among other changes, stripped them of the authority to toss out convictions in sexual assault cases.”