Tags: Exclusive Interviews | MidPoint | sex | assault | reform | military | bill

Ex-Air Force Prosecutor: Defense Killed Military Sex-Assault Reform

By    |   Friday, 19 Jun 2015 08:53 PM

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s bill to remove sex assault prosecutions from the military's chain of command failed because of intense pressure from Defense Department officials afraid of losing power, Col. Don Christensen, former chief prosecutor for the U.S. Air Force, tells Newsmax TV.

"Obviously, you're disappointed when you don't win but we actually got 50 senators who supported the bill.... Once again we had the majority of the Senate saying, enough is enough," Christensen said Friday to Ed Berliner on "MidPoint."

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On Tuesday, the Senate voted for the second time in two years to reject the New York Democrat's efforts to change how the military handles sex assault cases, with decision-making power over which cases to prosecute shifting from commanders to military prosecutors.

"The roadblock is DoD obstruction. The generals are afraid to give up any kind of power. They really are novices about what they're talking about. They really don't know the military justice system," Christensen said.

"And instead of working with Sen. Gillibrand to create a fair and impartial justice system, they are stopping any kind of progress."

But Christensen said supporters of the bill will continue working to push it ahead.

"The next step is we've got to convince a few more senators that this is the right thing to do. We had a lot of conversations. Sen. Gillibrand had a lot of conversations with senators new to the Senate and who had voted against us in the past," he said.

"There are a number of them, I would say very close to 10 that are right on the edge of voting for us. Now we just need to push them over to support our survivors and supporting fundamental change."

He said that in 2010, there were 20,000 survivors of sexual assault. In 2012, it shot up to 26,000 and in 2014, dropped back down to 20,000.

"Twenty thousand is not an acceptable number.... The military's had 20 years to do something and they have failed."

He said President Barack Obama has not come through on his promise to help.

"The president said that he had survivors' backs, he said he gave the military a year to take care of this. A year and a half later he has not spoken out on the subject and I fear that he has fallen prey to listening to the same generals that have been misleading the American people," Christensen said.

"Leaving serious crimes such as murder, rape, and child abuse to be decided by general officers is insane when we have prosecutors who can make these decisions.... I'm proud of the men and women that serve. I'm ashamed of the leadership that's obstructing change."

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Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s bill to remove sex assault prosecutions from the military's chain of command failed because of intense pressure from Defense Department officials afraid of losing power, Col. Don Christensen, former chief prosecutor for the U.S. Air Force, tells Newsmax TV.
sex, assault, reform, military, bill, kirsten gillibrand
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2015-53-19
Friday, 19 Jun 2015 08:53 PM
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