Protect Our Defenders News Blog

 

STATEMENT: Military Turns Blind Eye Towards Commander Accused of Sexual Assault and Harassment

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

December 19, 2015

***STATEMENT***

MILITARY TURNS BLIND EYE TOWARDS COMMANDER ACCUSED OF SEXUAL ASSAULT AND HARASSMENT 

Accused commander was promoted to a position of greater responsibility during a sexual assault investigation involving multiple charges, allowed to be active in sexual assault prevention programs, spoke at sexual harassment prevention luncheon and supervised other sexual assault response coordinators

Washington, D.C. – Earlier this year, an Army First Lieutenant filed a report against her commander accusing him of sexual assault and multiple instances of sexual harassment. The commander eventually pled guilty to several of the charges, including assault consummated by battery. He was not dismissed from the Army and spent less then four months in jail. The commander was released this weekend. Today, the Washington Post broke the story as part of an investigative report, “In the war against sexual assault, the Army keeps shooting itself in the foot.”  

During the investigation, the accused commander was promoted to a position of greater responsibility and allowed to participate in the Army’s Sexual Harassment and Sexual Assault Response and Prevention (SHARP) program. He spoke at a SHARP luncheon, and continued to supervise SHARP representatives. He is also believed to have served in the rating chain of SHARP personnel.

This case is yet another example of how the military continues to protect and promote commanders who have abused their power and preyed on people under their control.

Protect Our Defenders President, Col. Don Christensen (ret.) and the former Chief Prosecutor of the United States Air Force, released the following statement:

“Military leaders continue to insist they should be left to their own devices to get this crisis under control. Yet, when confronted with egregious cases of commander abuse, they instead close ranks around the perpetrator and punish the victim. The actions of military brass in this case fly in the face of the Pentagon’s promises to President Obama, Congress, and the American people that sexual assault would be taken seriously and preventing this crime made a top priority.

“This is another example of the arbitrary and biased manner in which the military continues to handle sexual assault and harassment. The fact that — while facing a court-martial for crimes including sexual abuse — the accused was elevated to another position of leadership over young troops and allowed to participate in the unit’s sexual assault prevention training tells us all we need to know about how serious the Pentagon is taking this crisis.”

Washington Post: In the war against sexual assault, the Army keeps shooting itself in the foot: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/checkpoint/wp/2015/12/19/in-the-war-against-sexual-assault-the-army-keeps-shooting-itself-in-the-foot/?hpid=hp_hp-cards_no-name%3Ahomepage%2Fcard

About Protect Our Defenders: Protect Our Defenders (POD) is a human rights organization.  We seek to honor, support and give voice to the brave women and men in uniform who have been sexually assaulted while serving their country and re-victimized by the military adjudication system. POD provides pro bono casework and legal assistance to survivors. Learn more about Protect Our Defenders at www.protectourdefenders.com or on Facebook at http://facebook.com/ProtectOurDefenders or follow us on Twitter at https://twitter.com/ProtectRDfnders

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