Protect Our Defenders Announces Appeal in Cioca v Rumsfeld
Today, the law firm of Susan Burke filed an appeal in the class action lawsuit Cioca v. Rumsfeld. The appeal, filed in the 4th circuit, argues that the Constitution vests control over the military in civilian hands, namely Congress. When executive branch officials violate Congressional law, and those violations deprive service members of their Constitutional rights, the federal courts can and should intercede. The lawsuit, filed by 28 current and former service members who claim they were sexually assaulted while serving in uniform, was dismissed by U.S. District Court Judge Liam O’Grady on December 9, 2011. Protect Our Defenders is collaborating with Ms. Burke on the lawsuits.
A statement from Protect Our Defenders President Nancy Parrish reads in part:
When Judge O’Grady dismissed the lawsuit saying that rape and sexual assault in the military are simply ‘incident to service,” he put his finger on the heart of the problem. According to the military’s argument, which Judge O’Grady accepted, rape and sexual assault is just an occupational hazard for service members.
Sadly, this mindset dominates the military’s thinking. The problem is so endemic that being raped by co-workers has come to be seen as just part of the job. This is the root of the military’s culture of tolerance for rape, which is preventing the DoD from undertaking real reforms.
Read the full statement.