Sexual assault on the campuses of U.S. military academies is striking the ire of legislators and military officials alike. This week some of these leaders gave testimony on the growing “epidemic.”
As frustration builds over sexual assault in the U.S. military, lawmakers warned Pentagon leaders Tuesday they are considering legislation that would allow personnel accused of sexual offenses to be tried by state prosecutors.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey appeared before the Senate Appropriations Committee’s Defense Subcommittee to testify on the fiscal 2014 National Defense Authorization Act.
Several lawmakers, however, wanted to discuss the increasingly incendiary issue of why the Pentagon can’t seem to control the “epidemic” of sexual assault in its ranks, as well as in the service academies.
Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., lectured Hagel and Dempsey over the U.S. Naval Academy’s mishandling of a string of sexual misconduct cases.
“In most of those cases where nothing was done — if that was outside a military reservation with its special laws, local prosecutors would be prosecuting people; there would be people going to jail,” Leahy said.