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Thursday, July 24, 2014, 5:42 a.m.
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U.S. Senate blocks change to military sex assault cases

By The Associated Press

This article was published March 6, 2014 at 3:58 p.m.

WASHINGTON — The Senate on Thursday blocked a bill that would have stripped senior military commanders of their authority to prosecute or prevent charges for alleged rapes and other serious offenses, capping an emotional, nearly yearlong fight over how to curb sexual assault in the ranks.

The vote was 55-45, short of the 60 necessary to move ahead on the legislation sponsored by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y. Defeated but unbowed, the senator received hugs from Sens. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., after the vote.

The Pentagon's leadership vigorously opposed the measure, arguing that officers should have more responsibility, not less, for the conduct of the men and women they lead.

Proponents of the bill insisted that far-reaching changes in the Uniform Code of Military Justice are necessary to curb a scourge of rapes and sexual assaults. Under Gillibrand's proposal, the decision to take serious crimes to courts-martial would be given to military trial lawyers who have prosecutorial experience and would operate out of a newly established office independent of the chain of command.

Gillibrand's effort bitterly divided the Senate in a battle that smashed conventional lines on gender and political party.

Read more on this story in Friday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

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Displaying 1 - 3 of 3 total comments

RonalFos says... March 7, 2014 at 6:48 a.m.

US military officers have proven they are incapable of treating sexual assault victims fairly over and over again. That kind of failure warrants loss of command control over these cases.

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djigoo says... March 7, 2014 at 7:39 a.m.

Shameful.

( | suggest removal )

DontDrinkDatKoolAid says... March 7, 2014 at 7:51 a.m.

Well then what good would be the use of the U.C.M.J.

( | suggest removal )

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