SWAN Calls for Change In Military Court Procedures
Service Women's Action Network is calling on the Military to consider possible changes in their court policies.
Swan is speaking out against the Military's court practices in response to the ongoing sex abuse scandal at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland.
"The DOD's (Department of Defense) own report shows that there were approximately 3,192 reported cases of sexual assault last year," said Katy Otto, SWAN Spokeswoman. "The DOD itself estimates that 19,000 sexual assaults occur each year, which means that a great number are not reported."
SWAN is proposing that the Military consider the possibility of placing case disposition authority in the hands of military prosecutors, as an alternative to placing it in the hands of the chain of command, which often presents a conflict of interest.
"We also are advocating that civil courts be opened up to service members. So that, if they feel they've been failed by the Military Justice system they would have access to civil courts," said Otto.
Currently, seven out of 32 training instructors under investigation at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland have been convicted of crimes involving sexual assault. The eighth, Staff Sergeant Craig LeBlanc, is currently undergoing his Court Martial, and the total number of estimated victims now stands at 62 trainees.
"If the culture of the Military is one in which perpetrators feel like they can get away with it, these crimes will continue to flourish," said Otto. "I think that's why providing avenues for fair and just prosecution is so important."
By: Marissa A. Wagner
Tuesday, February 12, 2013