McCaskill says senior officials should be involved in reporting military sexual assaults

Senators rushed to introduce legislation addressing sexual assault in the military after the Pentagon released a report in May that nearly 26,000 military service members were victims of sexual assault during the previous year. The Armed Services Committee will be considering measures addressing the issue on Wednesday.

ADVERTISEMENT
“Certainly no woman or man wants to come forward and talk about being a victim of this crime,” McCaskill said. “These are difficult cases to bring forward because of the intensely personal nature.”

Sen. Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandTexas rep uses Snapchat to prompt border control discussions GOP probes EPA response to NY state water contamination Dems separated by 29 votes in NY House primary MORE (D-N.Y.) called for a plan that would have removed senior military officials from the sexual assault reporting process, but some members of the Senate Armed Services Committee — including McCaskill — weren’t convinced that completely changing the military code of justice was the best reform.

Sens. Patty MurrayPatty MurrayOvernight Energy: Officials close in on new global emissions deal NBA pulls All-Star Game from NC over bathroom law 40 senators seek higher biodiesel mandate MORE (D-Wash.) and Kelly AyotteKelly AyotteKasich doesn't regret skipping convention Top GOP senator: Trump will have little effect on Senate races Hindu-American emerges as Trump mega-donor MORE (R-N.H.) introduced another bill that would have created a special victims unit within the military to help victims through the existing reporting process, among other things.

McCaskill said the Armed Services Committee would be discussing a plan that differs from Gillibrand’s. Chairman Carl LevinCarl LevinAs other regulators move past implementing Dodd-Frank, the SEC falls further behind Will partisan politics infect the Supreme Court? Fight for taxpayers draws fire MORE (D-Mich.) has proposed an alternative.

McCaskill added that Levin's alternative would be an improvement from Gillibrand’s bill because it would also make it a crime to retaliate against military sexual assault victims who report the wrongdoing.

“I believe these reforms will do a better job of getting predators behind bars and ultimately creating a more supportive environment for victims to come forward,” McCaskill said. “If more changes are necessary, I will be the first in line to work for them. ... Any coward who besmirches the pride of our military by committing a sexual assault should go to prison and that is what will happen under these provisions.”

More in Legislation

GMO labeling bill advances in the Senate over Dem objections

Read more »