Senate Panel Rejects Gillibrand's Sexual Assault Bill
The Senate Armed Services Committee has rejected legislation proposed by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand that would have sidelined military commanders in sexual assault cases.
The committee on Wednesday approved an alternative plan allowing senior officers to retain key legal powers under military law.
But the plan, crafted by the committee's Democratic chairman, Sen. Carl Levin of Michigan, subjects commanders to a review process if they choose not to prosecute a sexual assault case.
By agreeing to Levin's approach, the committee sided with the Pentagon's top brass in opposing aggressive changes to the military's legal code proposed by Gillibrand.
Gillibrand's bill would remove commanders from the process of deciding whether sexual misconduct cases go to trial.
"Men and women who are brutally raped and assaulted in the military, they just don't believe there's a possibility of justice," Gillibrand said. "They don't think the chain of command can be objective."
Military leaders say her legislation would undermine the ability of commanders to enforce good order.
Friday, April 18, 2014, Watertown, NY
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