U.S. Military to look into recent sexual assault cases

The U.S. Military's handling, or what some say, mishandling of sexual assault cases came under intense fire Wednesday in congress.

Victims testified, not only about being assaulted, but of the military failing to prosecute the assailants.

The issue of mostly female service members being sexually assaulted by their male counterparts reached a senate subcommittee with victims telling of repeated assaults.

"That same year, I was raped again by another soldier in my unit," says BriGette McCoy a Former Specialist in the United States Army.

And of repeated refusal by even the most reverent in the military to do anything to stop it.

"An Army Chaplain who told me, among other things, that the rape was God's will," says Rebekah Havrilla a Former Sergeant of the United States Army.

The Pentagon estimates 19,000 sexual assaults occur within the ranks every year.

Only a fraction of those get reported, though because, critics say, military commanders don't want or know how to deal with it.

"Nine times out of ten you're told to stay silent," says Anu Bhagwati the Executive Director and Co-Founder of Service Women’s Action Network.

Outrage over the issue reached a peak last month, when Air Force General Craig Franklin overturned a Military Jury's verdict against Lt. Colonel James Wilkerson.

Who had been convicted last year of sexually assaulting Kimberly Hanks, who spoke exclusively to NBC's Mike Isikoff.

"I was absolutely stunned, said Kimberly Hanks, Wilkerson’s Accuser. “It looks to me like he is protecting one of his own."

The Wilkerson case produced fireworks at the hearing.

That is an admission by Pentagon officials that some review of military law was probably needed.

As well as admitting the military needs to do more at preventing sexual assaults. New Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has ordered a review of the Wilkerson case.


Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
powered by Disqus
WNDU - Channel 16 54516 State Road 933 South Bend, IN 46637 Front Desk: 574-284-3000 Newsroom: 574-284-3016 Email: newscenter16@wndu.com
Copyright © 2002-2014 - Designed by Gray Digital Media - Powered by Clickability 197878501 - wndu.com/a?a=197878501
Gray Television, Inc.