Nebraska AG urging congress to reform sexual assault investigations in the military

Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson
Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson
Published: Nov. 11, 2021 at 9:43 AM CST
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - Nebraska’s Attorney General, Doug Peterson is hoping to reshape the way the United States military investigates and prosecutes sexual assault.

He’s heading the effort with Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul and a bipartisan coalition of 29 attorneys general. They’re asking Congress to pass the Military Justice Improvement and Increasing Prevention Act of 2021.

The coalition of attorneys aims to address the under-reporting and under-prosecuting of sexual assaults in the military. Right now, the military’s chain of command decides whether or not cases move forward to trial. The act would leave that decision up to independent, trained professional military prosecutors.

The act would also increase sexual assault prevention training and instruct prosecutors on how to handle sexual assault and domestic violence cases.

The press release from Peterson’s office says thousands of service members experience sexual assault, but only a small percentage ever report it, often because they suffer retaliation. In many cases, the assailant is someone in the service member’s own chain of command. Even when cases are reported, only 9% of assaults result in a conviction.

If the act were to pass, it would be the largest change to the military justice system in the last 70 years.

Joining General Raoul and General Peterson in calling on Congress to pass the Military Justice Improvement and Increasing Prevention Act are the attorneys general of Alaska, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Guam, Hawaii, Idaho, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

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