Protect Our Defenders News Blog

 

***STATEMENT*** Former Head of Marines Sexual Assault and Prevention Unit and Protect Our Defenders CEO Col Scott Jensen Responds to White House Chief of Staff Defense of Domestic Abusers

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 9, 2018

Former Head of Marines Sexual Assault and Prevention Unit and Protect Our Defenders CEO Col Scott Jensen Responds to White House Chief of Staff Defense of Domestic Abusers

Washington, D.C. — As revelations have come to light about White House Chief of Staff John Kelly’s troubling tendency to vouch for the character of subordinates suspected of committing serious misconduct, like Mr. Porter, it is important to remember Mr Kelly’s appalling conduct is consistent with far too many senior military leaders who choose to side with abusers.

Today, the former Head of Marines Sexual Assault and Prevention Unit and Protect Our Defenders CEO Col Scott Jensen responded to Mr. Kelly’s support of those that commit serious misconduct:

“In 2016, Mr Kelly was one of four generals to testify for disgraced Marine Colonel Todd Shane Tomko. Despite Tomko having been convicted of a laundry list of offenses including illegal use of steroids, unprofessional relationships, violating a military protective order and driving drunk to his own arraignment, Kelly described Tomko as an ‘upstanding Marine’ and a great leader. If Kelly’s assessment was not troubling enough when he made them, Tomko is now being prosecuted for sexual abuse of children dating back to 2003. Upstanding Marine indeed.

“Time and again, senior officers chose to side with abusers rather than victims. Just yesterday, the military’s highest court reviewed the case of an Army major who was convicted of beating his three year old step son so severely with a belt that it left welts and bruising and required medical treatment at an emergency room. Despite his being a convicted child abuser, five senior officers including two retired major generals testified about the abuser’s ‘excellent duty performance’ and ‘high rehabilitative potential.’

“At its heart the military justice system is fundamentally flawed by the inherently biased relationship of the commander to the parties involved. This precludes the possibility of blind justice – a fundamental principle of our democracy – even the best commanders’ judgments will be clouded by their opinions regarding the people who work for them. This bias is more insidious when such decisions are influence by entrenched racial and gender prejudices. And, the lack of transparency shields commanders from accountability. What we see playing out with Kelly is a military justice system mindset. Porter was a valued employee. Therefore, in their minds, the problem is not Porter or Tomko but rather the victims who have come forward.”

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