I’m Fighting to Give Victims of Sexual Assault in the Military Their Day in Court
The shock and anger I felt when I learned about this reversal must pale in comparison to its effect on sexual assault survivors.
And so I went to work. As a member of the Armed Services Committee, I’ve introduced legislation to strip commanders of their authority to overturn jury convictions. And I’ve begun work with military leaders to change the military justice system to prevent this kind of injustice and to better protect survivors of sexual assault.
In the meantime, we’ve heard from Lt. Gen. Franklin. In a letter attempting to justify his actions, he noted that the victim in the Aviano case refused a ride home, and that Lt. Col. Wilkerson was an upstanding family man — and it all sounds very familiar.
As a prosecutor, I know these types of facts have no relevance to whether a sexual assault occurred. And it brings me back four decades to the day I sat in that conference room in Kansas City.
This case has shown just how much work is left to do. I’m committed to seeing that work through, and ensuring that the message we’ve successfully embedded in our civilian justice system is implemented in our military justice system: if you commit sexual violence, you will go to jail.