The Department of Defense’s aim has been to reduce sexual assault in the military, but lawyers are concerned that the addition of 1,000 full-time and 22,000 part-time sexual assault response coordinators will result in the conviction of innocents, The Weekly Standard reports.
And when the DOD says full-time, it means full-time. Reducing sexual assault really is the sole job description of 1,000 workers.
In response to an inquiry from The Weekly Standard on whether sexual assault is the only job description item for full-time workers, DOD spokeswoman Laura Seal stated: “The answer to your questions is: Yes. In addition, more than 22,000 Sexual Assault Response Coordinators and Sexual Assault Response Victim Advocates have been certified in a process administered by the National Organization for Victim Assistance.”
The incredibly high number of employees focusing on sexual assault amounts to one out of every 91 workers in the DOD, which reflects how far President Barack Obama is willing to go to achieve his aims.
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According to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, the new personnel have been responsible for both a 50 percent increase in the number of sexual assaults reported and a 25 percent decrease in the number of actual sexual assaults. Hagel is so concerned about reducing sexual assault in the military that the DOD launched 28 different programs to try and reduce the problem. But although the goal may be laudable, some are concerned that the sheer number of employees in this area means an inevitable increase in false accusations and innocents headed for jail.
“There’s this influence within the military now that there is kind of a sexual witch hunt,” lawyer Greg Rinckey told the Washington Times.
“The military is being pressured to pursue unjust prosecutions even more than colleges and universities, and the worst of it is yet to come,” director of the Center for Military Readiness Elaine Donnelly said.
Rinckey and Donnelly are directing their remarks primarily at a Pentagon slide which states that inconsistent facts, mixed narratives, and a lack of memory, is a very normal element of sexual assault and should not indicate that the victim’s account is false. This type of view has come under scrutiny recently with revelations that Rolling Stone’s exclusive coverage of a brutal gang rape at the University of Virginia might be based on a series of fabrications.
Nevertheless, the 2015 National Defense Authorization Act includes an additional provision to establish a new panel called the Defense Advisory Committee on Investigation, Prosecution and Defense of Sexual Assault in the Armed Forces. The panel may be staffed with around 20 members, including judges and prosecutors, and will review allegations of sexual misconduct, which the Pentagon currently defines as rape, groping, pinching, and other kinds of non-consensual contact.
Hagel insisted that increased reporting numbers are due to a new confidence among servicemembers, owing to all the new hires very eager to advocate for victims.
“It is a fact that some women do lie about rape. It remains to be seen whether ‘new’ techniques for questioning complaining witnesses are designed to ferret out the truth or to support the ongoing false narrative that women do not lie about rape,” defense lawyer Charles Gittin warned.
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