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Published On: Thu, Jun 13th, 2013

Ted Cruz joins Kirsten Gillibrand and Democrats in battle over sexual abuse prosecution in the military

Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand was joined by an unlikely ally Wednesday in the Senate Armed Services committee markup and battle with committee chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.), conservatives on the committee, and many members of both parties in a fight to strip military commanders out of the process for prosecuting sexual assault cases.

Cruz joined the battle to afford military prosecutors, not commanders, the power to decide which sexual assault cases to try.

Kirsten Gillibrand

Kirsten Gillibrand

“I am going to be voting against the chairman’s amendment. And I am going to vote against it because I was persuaded by the argument that Senator Gillibrand presented in this committee a few moments ago,” Cruz announced. “I think she made a power and effective argument that the lack of reporting [of incidents] is driven by a fear of not having an impartial third party outside the chain of command in which to report a sexual assault.”

The government has been challenging the military to find a way to crack down on an sexual assault in the military following a Pentagon report indicating an epidemic of sexual assault, much of which has gone unreported.

 The Senator from New York and others believe that continuing to keep military commanders, many of whom may be within the victims’ chain of command, in charge of prosecuting cases is contributing to a lack of reporting over fears of retaliation and marginalization as well as the general belief that cases won’t be fully prosecuted.

Gillibrand advocates installing a set of military lawyers to decide which cases to prosecute.

Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia, who voted against Gillibrand’s proposal, stated that removing power from commanders is not the best way to fix the sexual assault epidemic. We would be “saying we have no confidence you can fix this”

In the end, Gillibrand’s effort failed by a vote of 17 to 9 in favor of Levin’s amendment retaining commanders’ power over prosecutions.

“I am deeply disappointed the voices of the victims of sexual assault have been drowned out by the military leaders who have failed to combat this crisis. While, in my view, we did not take all the steps required to solve the problem, there is no doubt we have taken several significant steps forward with the current version of the bill,” Gillibrand said in a statement.

She added that she will continue to fight for her proposal when the bill is debated by the full Senate.

“Our advocacy on this issue to remove the sole decision making of the chain of command in serious crimes has only just begun.”

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About the Author

- Writer and Co-Founder of The Global Dispatch, Brandon has been covering news, offering commentary for years, beginning professionally in 2003 on Crazed Fanboy before expanding into other blogs and sites. Appearing on several radio shows, Brandon has hosted Dispatch Radio, written his first novel (The Rise of the Templar) and completed the three years Global University program in Ministerial Studies to be a pastor. To Contact Brandon email [email protected] ATTN: BRANDON

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