NEWS RELEASE ISSUED BY THE OFFICE OF U.S. SENATOR CLAIRE MCCASKILL
McCaskill,Ayotte, Fischer Amendment Would Boost Already Historic Set of Reforms—New ProvisionsAimed at Protecting Victims, Putting More Perpetrators Behind Bars
Senatorsintroduce amendment to annual defense bill that adds to list of historicreforms, increases protections and options for survivors
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senatorsand former prosecutors Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) and Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), andSenator Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) this morning announced a new set of bipartisanprovisions to strengthen and augment the already historic reform package thatpassed the Armed Services Committee in June to curb military sexual assault.
"Thishas always been about a very simple concept—what can we do to make prosecutionssuccessful and what can we do to protect victims," said McCaskill, a formercourtroom prosecutor of sex crimes. "That's the only yardstick that matters tome."
"All along I have said that while we must deal with sexualoffenders, we can't lose sight of the victims. This amendment keeps thatimportant focus. These changes, both in our amendment and in this year's NDAA,are significant. But importantly, they are also serious and thoughtful – andthey are based on sound policy. Changes to the UCMJ should come after adeliberate and transparent process, with input from all sides. Thisamendment is the product of such an effort," said Fischer.
Theamendment includes a host of reforms, attached and available online HERE,and including:
TheSenators also pointed to newstatistics of drastically increased reporting as a strong indicatorthat retaining a role for commanders, while instituting historic, aggressivereforms, is the key for curbing sexual assaults.
McCaskill, Ayotte, and Fisher have relentlessly foughtto reduce sexual assaultsin the military. Earlier this year, the Armed Services Committee gave approvalto a series of aggressive, historic reforms addressing sexual assault, including bipartisan, bicameral provisions that willsignificantly boost accountability for perpetrators and protections forsurvivors.
Reformsincluded in that package would strip commanders of their ability to overturnjury convictions, install civilian review over decisions to not prosecutecases, mandate dishonorable discharge or dismissal for anyone convicted ofsexual assault, make it a crime to retaliate against victims who report asexual assault, provide a Special Victims Counsel to give independent legaladvice to servicemembers who report a sexual assault, and eliminate the statuteof limitations in these cases.
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