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Thursday, May 01, 2014

Allegations of Sexual Assault in the Military Reportedly Up 50% - What Does that Mean?


According to a widely reported story today, allegations of sexual assault, including rape (UCMJ Article 120),  in the military are up 50% since last fiscal year.  Here is the CNN version of the story:

So, what does this mean?  Does anyone know?  And, how will it be manipulated by those with an agenda?  Some points to consider: 

- An allegation is just that...a claim.  An allegation does mean what is claimed is what really happened.  

- How many of these claims were alcohol fueled encounters between acquaintances?  This is important because then we see the impact of the propaganda machine on the statistics, and scores of dubious claims stemming from this.  

- The propaganda machine (through mandatory sexual assault briefings, politician speeches, and news articles) informs military members that a woman who is drinking or intoxicated is incapable of consenting to sex.  That is not true, nor is it the law, yet it continues to be spread in all the service branches - and it accounts for a large percentage of court-martial allegations.

- The propaganda machine (through  mandatory sexual assault briefings, politician speeches, and news articles) informs military members that only 2% of sexual assault allegations are false.  That is not what the literature actually suggests, the percentage in various literature is much higher, and the source of the 2% figure is nearly as reliable as Mikey "dying" from pop rocks and Pepsi (for you older generation types).  See, for example:

- The generic term "sexual assault" is used to encompass a wide range of alleged activity, from rape through brushing someone's bottom.  

- The overreactions to statistics, public relations concerns, and the propaganda machine has led to incentives for making these allegations, which can also be powerful motivations for false claims:  such as favorable job and assignment transfers (PCS moves), military sexual trauma (MST) VA claims for compensation, de facto immunity for wrongdoing by the claimant (i.e. a woman who alleges sexual assault does not face discipline for her own infractions).  

I'm sure those seeking to further change the military justice system (and make it less and less about justice, and more and more about prosecution success)  will leap on this new increased sexual report story...but what does it really mean? 

For more information about the military justice system, particularly cases alleging rape and/or sexual assault in violation of UCMJ Article 120, type "rape" or "sexual assault" into the search bar above the blog posts.  See also:

We offer free initial consultations for a case you may be involved in.  Just call us.

Thank you.   

By: Attorney Richard V. Stevens
Civilian criminal defense lawyer and military defense lawyer
Military Defense Law Offices of Richard V. Stevens, P.C.

Blog postscript: Attorney Frank J. Spinner and I (attorney Richard V. Stevens) are former active duty military lawyers (JAG). Our perspectives and advice, therefore, are based upon our experience as military defense lawyers and as civilian criminal defense lawyers practicing exclusively in the area of military law and military justice. This blog addresses issues in military law, military justice, military discipline, military defense, court-martial practice, the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) and other military and/or legal topics. Nothing posted in this blog should be substituted for legal advice in any particular case. If you seek legal advice for a particular case, please contact The Law Offices of Richard V. Stevens and The Law Office of Frank J. Spinner for a free consultation. These military defense law offices are located in Northern Florida (Pensacola, Ft Walton, Destin, Eglin AFB, Hurlburt Field, Duke Field, Panama City, Tyndall AFB areas) and Colorado Springs, Colorado (FT Carson, Peterson AFB, Air Force Academy, Schriever AFB, Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station, Buckley AFB areas), but our military defense law practices are worldwide – we travel to wherever our clients are stationed or serving and need us.

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