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Gillibrand: New Military Sexual Assault Bill Would Improve Accountability

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y.
Paul Sancya
/
AP
U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y.

A new military justice bill could change the way sexual assault cases and other serious crimes are managed within the U.S. military.

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York has introduced bipartisan legislation, and said the bill would assign a military prosecutor instead of leaving sexual assault claims and other serious crimes in the chain of command.

“It is our job to provide oversight accountability over the armed services. So while they might like to let commanders decide because they trust them on so many things which is understandable and true, this is now our job because it is necessary to create a better, more professional system where justice is possible,” Gillibrand said.

The U.S. Department of Defense says one in every 16 female service members reported a sexual assault in 2018.

Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut is on the Armed Services Committee. He said he’s worked on this legislation for eight years.

"This measure is a national security measure. It’s vital to attract and keep some of the most talented people to serve in our military are women and as they rise, they need to be protected against this heinous vile crime,” Blumenthal said.

Misdemeanors and other strictly military related crimes would not be affected.