Gillibrand Chairs Hearing On Sexual Assault In Military

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Democratic New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is chairing a hearing on Capitol Hill on sexual assault in the military.

Officials estimate there are as many as 19,000 assaults every year, but the vast majority go unreported and the attackers often go unpunished.

"The scourge of sexual assault in the military should be intolerable and infuriating to all of us," said Gillibrand.

Lawmakers say women in the military are more likely to be victims of sexual assault than be killed in combat.

Most cases are never prosecuted.

Advocates say a recent case at a U.S. Air Force base in Italy reveals another problem.

Pilot James Wilkerson was convicted of sexual assault, sentenced to prison and discharged from the military.

But his superior, Lieutenant General Craig Franklin, decided to overturn the conviction.

Congress is now considering legislation that would strip commanders of that power.

But victims say more needs to be done and the culture in the military needs to change.

Service members file about 3,000 sexual misconduct complaints every year, but the Defense Department says most attacks go unreported and the actual number is close to 19,000.
 

Monday, October 20, 2014
, Watertown, NY

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