US Military bases unprepared for childhood sex assault
Latest stabbing of US service member heightens crime concerns in Waikiki section of Honolulu
A spike in violent crime in the Waikiki neighborhood of Honolulu has the U.S. military mulling a plan to keep service personnel away from the area. On Thursday, a 25-year-old service member was stabbed in the early morning hours, after parting ways with a friend, and in October two service members were stabbed -- with one of them dying from his wounds, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported."Between the hours of midnight and 6 a.m., it's a dangerous time to be walking alone in Waikiki," Jessica Lani Rich, president and CEO of the Visitor Aloha Society of Hawaii, told the newspaper.
When the children of U.S. service members sexually assault one another on a military base there often is no justice.
That's because federal law governs civilians on many U.S. military installations, and federal prosecutors have little interest in pursuing juvenile sex assault cases. As a result, both victims seeking closure and young offenders needing treatment often receive neither, an Associated Press investigation found.
The Latest: Cosby judge won't toss sexual assault charges
The Latest on a pretrial hearing in Bill Cosby's sexual assault case (all times local):3:30 p.m.A judge has denied requests from Bill Cosby's lawyers to throw out his sexual assault case.Judge Steven O'Neill on Monday denied a defense motion to dismiss the case on statute of limitations and prosecutorial misconduct grounds.Cosby's lawyers argued the alleged assault that led to his arrest couldn't have happened in January 2004, as accuser Andrea Constand has testified, and falls outside the statute of limitations.O'Neill said he'd leave that for the jury to decide.
One solution, known as "retrocession," offers some hope.
WHAT IS THAT?
It's a legal process in which the Pentagon and a state's governor or legislature transfer jurisdiction over juvenile cases that occur on base to local authorities, who have the resources and experience to counsel victims and rehabilitate, or punish, young offenders.
IS THIS AN EFFECTIVE SOLUTION?
Results are mixed.
Since the start of 2007, Army criminal investigators at Kentucky's Fort Knox concluded that nine juvenile sex assault and rape cases were credible, AP found, and Hardin County court officials received eight felony criminal complaints.
Army investigators at Joint Base Lewis-McChord outside Tacoma, Washington, referred 14 cases to Pierce County, said Kevin Benton, the county's chief juvenile prosecutor. But no charges were filed, mostly because of insufficient evidence, he said.
Russian cargo plane crashes in Syria; 32 dead
<p>A military cargo plane crashed as it was descending to land at a Russian air base in Syria on Tuesday, killing all 32 people onboard, the Russian Defense Ministry said.</p>The Russian military said an An-26, with 26 passengers and six crew members onboard, crashed just 500 meters (1,600 feet) from the runway. The military blamed the crash on a technical error.
ARE THERE OTHER ALTERNATIVES?
Some bases have tried less formal fixes.
At Camp Pendleton, the Marines' combat training base in Southern California, officials have been passing cases to San Diego County prosecutors for several years. "We're trying to accomplish justice," said Matt Brower, a deputy district attorney and a former military lawyer at Pendleton.
However, without a formal transfer of jurisdiction, legal experts say, a defense attorney could have grounds to argue that prosecutors cannot pursue charges.
ARE THERE OTHER BARRIERS?
Prosecutors who review civilian cases on base typically are military lawyers with little experience in civilian law. And they quickly learn that their Justice Department supervisors do not support them taking child sex offense cases, attorneys said.
Money also plays a role. Scott Stevens, a prosecutor in rural Coryell County, Texas, could not afford to meet the county's needs and send all offenders from massive Fort Hood to secure juvenile sex offender treatment. "It would take maybe two or three of those to wipe out our entire placement budget for a year," Stevens explained.
SO WHAT'S THE ANSWER?
Given inaction by the Defense and Justice departments, some experts have suggested a comprehensive legislative fix, such as funding a mandate that state and local officials handle juvenile crimes on base.
Roger Haines was an assistant U.S. attorney in San Diego in the 1980s when he tried to get Congress to mandate that states share jurisdiction over civilian crimes on federal installations. Base commanders objected, and state officials worried they would inherit new problems, said Haines, a 29-year federal prosecutor who wrote a book about the issue.
"The situation is so ridiculous," Haines said. "It's not an answer to simply say, 'We can't do anything.'"
Cosby wants judge ousted over wife's sex-assault advocacy .
Bill Cosby's lawyers are asking the judge in his upcoming sexual assault retrial to step aside, arguing he could be seen as biased because his wife is a social worker who's described herself as an "advocate for assault victims."Cosby's lawyers said Thursday that some of Judge Steven O'Neill's rulings, including his decision to let five additional accusers testify, could give the appearance he's influenced by his wife's work.Deborah O'Neill is the coordinator of a University of Pennsylvania sexual trauma outreach team. She wrote her dissertation on acquaintance rape.The O'Neills did not immediately respond to messages.
Report: Military bases unprepared for childhood sex assault | by Military Times
Report: Military bases unprepared for childhood sex assault | by Military Times ▻ Reports of assaults and rapes among kids on military bases often die on the desks of prosecutors, le......
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