Washington, DC –Today, in a 8-0 decision regarding U.S. v Briggs, the United States Supreme Court voted that a five-year statute of limitations does not apply to military rape prosecutions and convictions that occurred before 2006. On October 13th the Supreme Court heard US v. Briggs to review a military court decision that led to overturning multiple rape convictions based on a court-created five-year statute of limitations for rapes in the military committed between 1986 and 2006. For thirty-two years, military courts operated under no time constraint for the prosecution of rape until the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces (CAAF) reversed long standing precedent with US v. Mangahas in 2018.
Earlier this year, Protect Our Defenders (POD), the national organization dedicated to ending the epidemic of sexual assault and racial disparity in the military, joined Harmony Allen – one of three survivors whose rapist was freed by the CAAF’s highly flawed ruling – in filing an amicus brief before the Supreme Court to challenge U.S. v Briggs. The Supreme Court ruling represents a resounding victory for survivors of military sexual assault and closes legal loophole setting military rapists free.
The decision comes as POD filed an additional amicus curiae brief before the Supreme Court on Monday alongside 19 allied organizations in an effort to overturn the Feres Doctrine. This is the fourth amicus curiae brief POD has filed before the Supreme Court.
Col. Don Christensen (ret.), the former Chief Prosecutor of the United States Air Force and President of Protect Our Defenders, released the following statement:
“Today’s opinion was a huge win for military rape survivors, including for Air Force Veteran Harmony Allen. For Harmony, this was justice two decades in the making. Protect Our Defenders is proud to have stood by her in taking U.S v Mangahas to the highest court in the United States to right a reprehensible wrong.
“The unanimous nature of this opinion is a testament of just how wrong the lower court’s opinion was. Justice has been restored for three survivors and hope has been restored for countless others.”
Courthouse News: No Time Limit on Military Rape Cases, Justices Rule
Vice News: The U.S military faces its own #MeToo moment
CNN: Her rapist was convicted and jailed by a military court. Two years later, he was freed: https://www.cnn.com/2019/05/
United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces: US v. Mangahas: http://cdn.cnn.com/
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 https://facebook.com/