|SUMMARY: The Pentagon released a new report that suggests progress has been made to combat the military’s sexual assault epidemic. U.S Senator Kirsten Gillibrand has critiqued the Pentagon’s reporting of sex-related crime during an interview with ABC News. She based her comments on the Pentagon’s refusal to provide information about sexual assault at major U.S. bases. Gillibrand requested case files to determine whether there is consistency when handling sexual assault at these bases. Ten months later Gillibrand gained access to only the 2013 files (107 sexual assault cases, where more than half involved civilian women living near military communities and non-military spouses) and found; numerous cases where punishment was too lenient; less than one quarter of the cases went to trial and only 11 resulted in conviction for a sex crime. The Pentagon’s refusal to provide the data, Gillibrand’s report said, ‘calls into question the department’s commitment to transparency and getting to the root of the problem.’ These revelations contradict the Pentagon’s assertion that military commanders will be tough on service members accused of sex crimes. Gillibrand has supported legislation that would remove commanders from the investigation of sex crimes, which the Pentagon opposes.
SOURCE: Associated Press, May 4 2015, ‘Senator Kirsten Gillibrand: Pentagon is withholding sex crimes information,’ NY Dailynews, http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/sen-gillibrand-pentagon-withholding-sex-crimes-info-article-1.2209426