Earlier this month, the Pentagon released a much anticipated study regarding the frequency of rape, sexual assault and the reporting of such crimes within the military. A key finding was a 50 percent increase in reported rape and assault crimes from 2012 to 2013. In 2012, 3,374 such cases were reported. Last year, the number had jumped to 5,061.
The recent study follows an increased focus on rape and sexual assault crimes within the military that began in 2012, when several high-profile cases resulted in national media coverage. That same year, the Pentagon reported that the rate of unwanted sexual contact within the military increased by 35 percent from 2010 to 2012.
While many military officials argue that the report is a good indicator of the progress that has been made, many critics argue that in spite of increased reporting, the number of cases that actually proceed to trial remains far too low. Of the 5,061 reported cases, only 484 went to trial and 376 resulted in convictions.
Many suspect that this month’s report will result in a more aggressive push to increase the efficiency with which military sexual assault and rape cases are handled and increase the number of cases brought to trial.
The military has made significant changes to provide additional safeguards for victims and decrease the number of sex crimes that take place among service members each year. These efforts include:
- The creation of a victims’ program that provides legal consultations for alleged victims
- Newly instituted methods that will allow officials to assess how military commanders are performing on the issues of “dignity and respect”
- The formation of a special program to improve collaboration between sex crime investigators
As the military works to protect service members from rape and sexual assault, and crack down on those charged with these crimes, it’s important that anyone charged with rape or sexual misconduct in the military retain an attorney with experience in sex crime defense to ensure that their rights are protected. Attorney Ryan Coward, Esq., of Elkus, Sisson & Rosenstein in Denver has litigated hundreds of high-level military crimes, including murder, rape and sexual assault, and has won numerous trial verdicts. To schedule a consultation to discuss any military criminal charge, call 303-567-7981.