A recent report has found that the military's investigations into child sexual abuse allegations were improperly done and contained deficiencies. Ten cases were suggested to be reopened to correct the faults found in the investigations.
Report Reveals Common Case Deficiencies
The Inspector General of the United States Department of Defense released a report in September that examined 163 Military Criminal Investigative Organization (MCIO) investigations of child sexual assault cases in 2012. The purpose of the investigation was to determine if these investigations followed proper policy.
On the close of the examination, the Inspector General found that 94% of all cases were held up to investigative standards and 6% of cases had significant deficiencies in standards that required follow-up action.
The 6% that required follow up had four common deficiencies:
- DD Form 2701 "Initial Information for Victims and Witnesses of Crime" was not issued to victims or guardians
- Interviews of subjects, witnesses, and victims were not thorough
- Investigative leads were not conducted or followed-up
- Evidence was not fully collected
The report helps reveal what needs to be improved upon when conducting criminal investigations.
Military Branches with Different Reactions
The Army was found to have six of the ten cases with significant deficiencies. Four of those cases were going to be reopened, while two of the cases would not be reopened.
The Air Force determined that there was value in the investigation but some of the policies in place by the branch would not be altered. One case with significant deficiencies belonged to the Air Force, which claimed that local law enforcement took the lead on that claim.
The Navy responded by revising its policy on child sexual assault violations by providing guidance on the identification and collection of evidence. This branch was responsible for three of the ten cases found to be improperly investigated.
While many of the case outcomes would not have been altered with different procedure, the probe reveals that many military cases were mishandled. In the event that the outcome of a case would have been different if different procedure was followed, it is imperative that the military branches ensure thorough handling of cases.