U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) today issued the following statement on reports that the Senate Armed Services Committee will soon vote on an alternative proposal that would make some improvements regarding the treatment of survivors of military sexual assault, but would leave decisions on prosecuting these cases in the chain of command:
"While I am glad that the Committee proposal adopts improvements championed by my colleagues, I am stunned that when it comes to prosecuting these crimes the Committee is largely embracing the status quo by allowing commanders to not only decide whether a case goes forward, but even to handpick the jury that will render the verdict."
The expected decision to move this new Committee language comes despite the vote today by the Senate Armed Services Personnel Subcommittee to approve legislation by Senators Gillibrand, Boxer and Collins that would remove the decision to prosecute and select the jury for serious crimes like sexual assault from the chain of command.
"Instead of embracing a broken system, the full Committee should pass the reforms backed by the Subcommittee that emulate our allies in Israel, Great Britain, Australia and Canada. I look forward to fighting for these critical changes on the floor of the Senate."