***STATEMENT*** POD Calls For Congressional Hearings and Legislative Action in the Wake of Abhorrent Military Academies Report
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 13, 2023
POD Calls For Congressional Hearings and Legislative Action in the Wake of Abhorrent Military Academies Report
On top of a significant increase in reports of unwanted sexual contacts, the report shows that only about 2% of the reported cases resulted in a conviction
Washington, DC – Today, Protect our Defenders (POD) – the pre-eminent national human rights organization dedicated to ending sexual violence in the military and combating a culture that has allowed it to persist – is calling for Congressional hearings to hold military leadership accountable following the release of Friday’s disturbing military academies report. The findings indicate that, despite a sharp increase in reports of unwanted sexual contact across every military academy only about two percent of cases resulted in conviction.
With military retention and readiness, as well as justice for current and future servicemembers on the line, its pivotal the House and Senate hold military leadership accountable to curb the longstanding culture of sexual assault. The role of Congress as a watchdog for military leadership is especially pivotal as historic reform passed as part of the 2022 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) is set to be implemented in the coming years.
Protect Our Defenders Vice-Chair, Josh Connolly, former Chief of Staff for Rep. Jackie Speier (former Chairwoman of the Military Personnel Subcommittee on the House Armed Services Committee) released the following statement:
“The lack of accountability exposed in this report is staggering. Buried in a 70-page appendix is the disturbing fact that of the meager five offenders court-martialed only two were convicted of a sexual assault related offense. That means that only roughly two percent of the reported cases resulted in a conviction.
“This sprawling report doesn’t make one mention of holding academy leadership accountable for the toxic culture that allows this abhorrent behavior to persist and grow.
“We call on the House and Senate to hold hearings with senior leadership of the academy to see how they plan to address this spirling crisis. Congress also must draft legislation to require true accountability for the senior leadership. If this problem persists, heads should roll and it should start with leadership. Nothing less than the future of our military, including military retention and readiness, is at stake.”