Military Remains Aggressive in Addressing Alleged Sexual Assault

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Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel ordered a review of service members’ records. The army results are in.

In 2012, two developments led to a laser-like focus on sexual assault within the military. The first was the occurrence of several high-profile cases that garnered national media attention. The second was the release of a Pentagon statistic estimating that rate of unwanted sexual contact within the military increased by 35 percent from 2010 to 2012. Defense Secretary Hagel responded by ordering a review of the background records of all service members occupying positions of trust, such as:

  • Sexual assault response coordinators
  • Recruiters
  • Drill instructors

The Army completed its review in February of this year, finding that out of the 20,000 individuals reviewed, 588, or almost three percent, were disqualified due to alleged past unethical or criminal behavior. Disqualifications also occurred in the Navy, Air Force and Marines, and Defense Secretary Hagel was quoted as saying there is a continued need “to continue stamping out sexual assault from our ranks.”

Though the military’s efforts to reduce and eliminate the incidence of sexual assault within the armed forces is laudable, it is important to remember that the legal process must be followed each time new sexual assault charges or similar charges are filed.

For some service members, the review will result in more than just removal from a position of trust: 79 service members will be forced to leave the military all together. It is likely that the military will continue to focus on the prevention of sexual assault, because an Army spokesman noted that “we will continue working to better ensure we select the very best people for these posts”, i.e. positions of trust.

This environment where sexual assault allegations are highly scrutinized, and where political pressure has resulted in the prosecution of cases that might not otherwise not proceed to trial, mean that it’s more necessary now then ever to higher an experienced military lawyer that is familiar with sexual assault cases.  Those accused of sexual assault may face a court martial or administrative separation. In each instance, the military will use its considerable resources in its attempt to ensure the outcome it desires.

Attorney Ryan Coward, Esq., began his legal career in the Army JAG Corps before entering private practice, which serves Fort Carson and Colorado Springs, Colorado and others locations worldwide such as Japan, Korea, Germany and Italy.  Mr. Coward has successfully handled numerous military criminal cases to include a number of sexual assault cases.  In defending these cases, Mr. Coward is not afraid fight back against the government and he will help you put on the best defense possible at trial. To schedule a consultation to discuss any criminal charge occurring within the military, call 303-567-7981.

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