Nationwide--Victims blast military abuse secrecy
For immediate release: Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2015
A troubling new investigation into sexual violence in the military shows a disturbing rate of child sex crimes and secrecy. We desperately hope that Congress and other governmental officials will step up efforts to protect children from military offenders and will hold hearings soon to devise ways to make our armed forces safer from predators and more transparent about their cases.
Governmental officials must be more open about sexual violence in the military. It’s just that simple. Otherwise, the safety of children and adults will be jeopardized. And public support for the armed services will be hurt.
Because of the size and reach of the military, it should be easier, not harder, to get information about child sexual abuse by military officials than it is to get information from state courts. No one should be forced to resort to “freedom of information” requests to learn about who committed or concealed child sex crimes in the service.
Defense Department officials claim that military judges, juries and prosecutors view child sex crimes “as intolerable,” “are more likely to impose harsher prison terms and “pursue verdicts in cases their civilian counterparts would never take to court,” according to the Associated Press.
We desperately hope this is true. We fear that it may not be, however. And until military officials become more transparent about sexual violence cases, we urge citizens to be skeptical of these claims too.
Finally, we hope that every single person who sees, suspects or suffers sexual violence or cover up in the armed services will find the courage to step forward, speak up, protect others, expose wrongdoers, deter cover ups and start healing.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. SNAP was founded in 1988 and has more than 20,000 members. Despite the word “priest” in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)
Opaque military justice system shields child sex abuse cases - Nov 18, 10:25 AM EST
By RICHARD LARDNER and EILEEN SULLIVAN, Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Child sex offenders are the largest category of inmates in U.S. military prisons, yet a full accounting of their crimes and how much time they're actually locked up for is shielded by an opaque system of justice, an Associated Press investigation has found.
Of the 1,233 inmates confined in the military's prison network, 61 percent were convicted of sex crimes, according to the latest available data, obtained through the federal open records law. Children were the victims in over half of those cases.
Since the beginning of this year alone, service members victimized children in 133 out of 301 sex crime convictions, with charges ranging from rape to distributing child pornography.
Child sex assaults in the military have received . . .