FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 27, 2014 Contact: Brian Purchia, 202.253.(202) 253-4330, firstname.lastname@example.org
*** STATEMENT ***
Protect Our Defenders Calls For Complete Overhaul of Tracking System for Criminals and Sexual Predators in the Armed Forces
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Yesterday, USA Today revealed that United States Army has disqualified 588 soldiers from what they call ‘positions of trusts,’ for various crimes including sexual assault, child abuse, and drunk driving. These disqualified soldiers included recruiters, drill sergeants, and even sexual assault counselors.
Earlier this week, Tailhook Whistleblower and Protect Our Defenders Board of Directors Member Paula Coughlin launched a petition calling on Congress to bring the Military Justice Improvement Act (MJIA) to a vote! In only two days, the petition already has over 3,000 signatures.
This bipartisan, common sense legislation (now supported by 55 Senators), would remove the decision to prosecute rape and sexual assault cases from a conflicted and often-biased chain of command, and put it into the hands of independent prosecutors.
Protect Our Defenders President Nancy Parrish released the following statement:
“The fact that nearly 600 soldiers in “positions of trust”, including sexual assault counselors, have been removed for a variety of offenses, including sexual assault and child abuse, is deeply disturbing and indicative of the widespread crisis in the military.
“It is particularly concerning that this information only came to light because a reporter dug the information up. The number is ten times higher than the Army publicly reported last summer
“It is highly unlikely that this problem is unique to the Army. The other services should also widen their review.
“This is one more clear indication of why nine out of ten sexual assault victims never report their attacks. And that of the few who do report, 60% state they were retaliated against.
“The system for tracking criminals and sexual predators across all branches of the military needs a complete overhaul. While we are glad to see the Army taking the lead on this issue, much more needs to be done.
“Our troops deserve a professional and impartial justice system equal to the system afforded to the civilians they protect.”
USA Today: Army disqualifies 588 soldiers after sexual assault review
Paula Coughlin Petition: Give Sexual Assault Victims the Vote They Deserve
Vogue: Sexual Misconduct in the Military—and Why Kirsten Gillibrand Is Pushing Reform to the Top of Her Agenda
Huffington Post: Senate Agrees To Vote On Military Sexual Assault Bills
New York Times: Service Members Testify to Senate Panel on Sexual Violence
Stars and Stripes: Reports of sexual assault in the military climbed in FY 2013
CBS News: Kirsten Gillibrand tries to revive debate on military sex assault bill
About Protect Our Defenders: Protect Our Defenders 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 – a system that often blames the victim and fails to prosecute the perpetrator. 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.
Protect Our Defenders partners with Attorney Susan Burke, of Katz, Marshall & Banks LLP to advance lawsuits filed against the DoD and service academies for repeatedly ignoring rape, sexual assault and harassment, failing to prosecute perpetrators and retaliating against the victim.