In light of a new report released by the Justice Department last week, questions are being raised regarding the amount of military sexual assault cases resulting in convictions. The report – which was released on May 1st and detailed in a previous blog – revealed that of the 5,061 reported assaults and more than 2,100 cases that could have been considered for action, only 484 resulted in a trial; 370 resulted in a conviction.
The report surfaced amid widespread praise that the military was demonstrating a willingness to make the issue of military sexual assault a priority. The 50% increase in reports of sexual assault over the previous year highlights a more welcoming environment in which victims feel more comfortable about stepping forward. Few can argue about that. For many, however, the prosecution and conviction rates reveal quite a bit of room for improvement.
According to several lawmakers and proponents of military justice system overhaul, the numbers have their pros and cons. For many, they are a troubling sign the system remains broken, while at the same time indicating that progress is being made. Whatever the views may be, most are in support of continuing reform and improving how the military handles sexual assault.
As the military continues to receive pressure from Congress and advocacy groups over sexual assault within its ranks, any service member who faces these allegations should expect aggressive prosecution and harsh penalties – and should make retaining the support of a proven military criminal defense lawyer their top priority.
If you have questions about military sexual assault, call (866) 624-7503.