United States: AP Report Finds Military Misrepresented Sexual Assault Statistics

According to an investigation by the Associated Press (AP), the US military has repeatedly misrepresented its handling of sexual assault cases in an effort to block more stringent federal legislation on sexual violence in the armed forces. High-ranking US military officials have “portrayed civilian district attorneys and local police forces as less willing than senior military officers to punish sex offenders.” This supported the military’s contention that fewer cases of sexual assault would be prosecuted if Congress changed the military’s existing practice of handling sexual assault allegations through the chain of command. However, the AP’s investigation found that, rather than declining to prosecute cases of rape or sexual violence involving military members, civilian district attorneys often deferred to the military on such cases as a matter of professional courtesy, rather than a lack of willingness to prosecute. Additionally, “steps taken by civilian authorities were described incorrectly or omitted” by military officials, according to the AP.


Compiled from: Lardner, Richard, Pentagon misled lawmakers on military sexual assault cases, Associate Press (April, 18, 2016).