***STATEMENT*** PROTECT OUR DEFENDERS PRESIDENT COL DON CHRISTENSEN (RET.) CALLS FOR INDEPENDENT PROSECUTION OF MILITARY SEXUAL ASSAULT CASES
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 6, 2019
Washington, D.C. — Today, the United States Senate Armed Services Committee (watch live here) held a hearing to receive testimony on the military services’ prevention of and response to sexual assault. The hearing comes on the heels of the recent Sexual Assault and Violence Report at the Military Services Academies and an all-time high of 5,111 sexual assault cases in 2017 in contrast to a 7.9% prosecution rate of those cases – a clear failure of military service leadership to solve the growing crisis and deliver accountability.
At the hearing, Col. Don Christensen (ret.), the former Chief Prosecutor of the United State Air Force and President of Protect Our Defenders (POD), called for independent prosecution of military sexual assault cases to bring accountability to the military justice system.
Col. Don Christensen (ret.), the former Chief Prosecutor of the United State Air Force and President of Protect Our Defenders (POD), released the following statement:
“No one can look at these numbers and call this success. We have heard for decades from military leadership how they are going to fix this and how they have zero tolerance. But these statements have proven empty. At the same time, the military leadership has pushed back on any effort to modernize the military justice system by giving military prosecutors the authority to make prosecution decisions rather than the small number of commanders who have that authority now.
“It is time to accept that making prosecution decisions for serious crimes such as rape, murder, sexual assault child abuse, child pornography possession among others is complex and best done by attorneys with significant experience in the courtroom trying such cases.”
You can read Col. Christensen’s full opening remarks here.
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 advances 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.