Sen. Claire McCaskill is continuing to block the promotion of Air Force Lt. Gen. Susan Helms for granting clemency to a convicted sex offender.
The Missouri Democrat said Thursday she will place a permanent hold on Helms' nomination to become vice commander of the Air Force's Space Command, citing the general's decision in February 2012 to overturn the sexual assault conviction of an Air Force captain, reports The Washington Post.
"With her action, Lt. Gen. Helms sent a damaging message to survivors of sexual assault," McCaskill said in a statement for the Congressional Record.
She continued, "They can take the difficult and painful step of reporting the crime, they can endure the agony involved in being subjected to intense questioning often aimed at putting the blame on them, and they can experience a momentary sense of justice in knowing that they were believed when their attacker is convicted and sentenced, only to have that justice ripped away with the stroke of a pen."
According to the Post, McCaskill met privately with Helms last month but said she still had concerns about the general's decision to grant clemency to the convicted sex offender, a captain at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California who was later discharged from the military.
Helms apparently rejected the recommendation of her legal counsel to uphold the jury's conviction and granted clemency before an appellate court could hear the case.
McCaskill's hold prevents the Senate from approving Helms' nomination.
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