June 21st, 2013
10:02 AM ET
10 months ago

Gillibrand reaffirms position on military sex assault prosecution

(CNN) - Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand maintained Friday that the authority for prosecuting sexual assault in the military needs to be taken out of the chain of command.

"What we see from the victims," the New York Democrat said on CNN's "New Day," "They're not reporting these crimes because they don't trust the chain of command. They actually don't feel they will get justice in the system."

The original provision in pending military sexual assault legislation would have taken the decision about prosecuting such crimes out of the chain of command. However, it was replaced by Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin, D-Michigan. Instead, the bill approved by the committee last week would require review of prosecution decisions by more senior leaders and would make it a crime to retaliate against those who report an assault.

Gillibrand has vowed to continue fighting to take the decision out of the chain of command, preferring that it be made by independent military prosecutors. Senior military leaders have argued that removing that authority would harm a commander's ability to lead effectively.

"You're taking one legal decision away, you're not taking their power away," Gillibrand said Friday. "The only decision points we're removing from the chain of command is that for whether a serious crime goes to trial; rapes, murders, sexual assaults."

Gillibrand cited potential conflicts of interest for commanders who may know both victim and perpetrator.

"Until you have the prosecutions and people going to trial and have the transparency and accountability, you're never going to change this culture within the military," she said. "You're never going to have a place where men and women feel that they are safe serving our nation."


Filed under: Carl Levin • Kirsten Gillibrand • Senate
soundoff (9 Responses)
  1. Data Driven

    Any institution can become a bubble, and the military is no exception. Outside oversight is the obvious answer here.

    Gillibrand continues to impress.

    June 21, 2013 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  2. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    Sen. Gillibrand is absolutely correct. I've seen this firsthand in the military. These investigations need to be conducted by the C.I.D. or a civilian agency to make sure there is no brushing of crimes under the rug.

    June 21, 2013 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  3. Bessy

    I agree. Keeping it with the military just hides it and it never gets addressed.

    June 21, 2013 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  4. Guess

    They will never give up their ability to control info, just aint gonna happen. they will wear her out. she is a good peerson trying to do the right thing, nothing our government despises more.

    June 21, 2013 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  5. Rudy NYC

    I don't see why commanders would object to having sex related crimes handled outside of the chain of command. There's always going to be a bad apple in a bunch. To shake the bad apples would seem like a good thing to me, but apparently it's regarded as a stain on your reputation in the military. How dumb is that?

    June 21, 2013 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  6. Palin Power

    If Gilibrand decides to run in 2016, she will easily get PWNED by Sarah Palin.

    June 21, 2013 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  7. smith

    Sexual Assualts happend in every workplace enviroment in the US but democrats focus only on the crimes committed in the military. This is nothing but a way to degrade the military. Liberals have been doing this for decades.(throwing dog feces at vets). They have no shame

    June 21, 2013 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  8. Ray E. (Georgia)

    When the cat is away, the mice will play,
    Back before ships were powered by steam there was a rule of no women on ships. Nothing has changed but the social engineers finally allowed women on ships and other places in the military. Never a good idea but some people you can't tell anything. Certain places in the military women shouldn't be. You know the results.

    June 21, 2013 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  9. Malory Archer

    smith

    Sexual Assualts happend in every workplace enviroment in the US but democrats focus only on the crimes committed in the military. This is nothing but a way to degrade the military. Liberals have been doing this for decades.(throwing dog feces at vets). They have no shame

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Ding ding ding! Annnnnndddd we have a winner in today's "it's better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open one's mouth (or in this case excecise one's fingers) and remove all doubt" contest! Take a bow Mr. Smith, as anyone with more than two active brain cells is aware that sexual harrassment is a serious offense and every employer in America is well aware that they face criminal and civil recourse if they address it the way the military see fit to do so.

    June 21, 2013 11:45 am at 11:45 am |