I regard the on-going reporting–or lack thereof–of Sex Crimes in the Military as being somewhat part of the overall Violence Against Women Issue. Perhaps the fact that we have many more Women in both the House and Senate has brought this, and other Women’s Concerns, to Center Stage. That certainly is encouraging.
The linked article, by Margaret Carlson, of Bloomberg, is as follows: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/print/2013-03-19/the-military-s-sex-scandal.html. This article seems to summarize the situation, very thoroughly. Additionally, it points to the importance of the movie “The Invisible War” (nominated for an Academy Award, but not a winner), which describes the epidemic of Rape in the Military.
I can recall the first time that Military Sex Crimes were brought to public knowledge, in 1991, when such acts were alleged at an annual convention of the Tail-Hook Society–an organization of Marine and Naval Aviators. Since then, such reports have emanated from each of the service academies, as well.
And then, just last year, a number of Drill Instructors, at Lackland Air Force Base, in Austin, Texas, where charged with various sex crimes by Female Recruits. Its important to realize that the sergeants would be entitled to a trial by their peer–namely other NCOs. Accordingly, a Recruit might feel intimidated by the stripes and chest full of medals that the Jury would tend to be wearing.
Yes, there are more Women in the Military these days; however, I believe that the real problem is that the Military cannot police itself. It’s mission is Military–and not Police Work. Also, local Commanders often make and enforce the rules. But, Local or Military Police should take-over when it comes to Sex and other Major Crimes.
Perhaps the epitome of such a situation was what happened after Lieutenant Colonel James Wilkerson was accused of sexual assault at a base in Italy, after a late-night party. He was found guilty, sentenced to one-year in prison and discharged from the Air Force. Last month, however, his Commanding Officer, Lieutenant General Craig Franklin, overturned the conviction, cleared his record and returned the fighter pilot to duty. Worse yet, Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel, cannot do anything about it.
The linked article makes a comparison to the Pedophilia Scandal in the Catholic Church where complaints of Sex Crimes, by Priests, were “handled” within the Church and generally not reported to the Local Authorities. Even multiple offenders were not de-frocked and merely transferred to other Parishes.
Just like the Church, the Military would, like any business or company, prefer not to air its dirty laundry. And, it often claims that internal Command and Control is essential to their Mission. Also, perhaps, they are also be concerned with the negative impact on Recruitment. But, irregardless of their preference, Sex Crimes should be handled by the Police. And, if assigned to Military Police, such as for overseas Commands, there should be a totally separate Chain-of-Command up to the Adjutant General’s Office.