6/25/13 E-mail from Senator Dianne Feinstein

From: senator <senator@feinstein.senate.gov>
To: haitiholocaust <haitiholocaust@aol.com>
Sent: Tue, Jun 25, 2013 10:14 am
Subject: U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein responding to your message

Feinstein profile_header



Dear Mrs.   Mohr:

Thank you for contacting me regarding sexual assault   in the military.  I appreciate
the time you took to write, and I welcome   the opportunity to respond.

According to the Department of Defense, an estimated   26,000 cases of sexual
assault occurred in 2012, up from 19,000 incidents in   2010. This includes 12,100
women assaulted (6.1 percent of women on active   duty) and 13,900 men assaulted
(1.2 percent of men on active duty).  A   separate report released by the Department
in April showed that more than 1   in 5 female servicemembers reported unwanted
sexual contact while   serving in the military.

I believe that we need a zero-tolerance policy for   sexual assault and violence in our
Armed Forces.  Given the inadequacy   of previous military efforts to address the
growing number of sexual   assaults, I believe Congressional action is necessary to
reform the military   justice system by removing prosecutorial discretion from the
chain of command   and by eliminating the ability of Commanding Officers to overturn
guilty  verdicts.

I am an original cosponsor of the “Military   Justice Improvement Act of 2013” (S. 967),
which was introduced by   Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) on May 16, 2013.  This bill,
which is   currently awaiting consideration by the Senate Committee on Armed Services,   would:

  • Require commanding officers to   immediately report a sexual assault to the proper
    investigative authority;
  • Transfer prosecutorial   discretion for most serious crimes, including rape and sexual
    assault, from   commanding officers to independent military prosecutors;
  • Transfer the authority and   discretion to establish courts, empanel juries, and choose
    trial judges from   commanding officers to the offices of the Service Chiefs of Staff
    (Convening   Authority); and
  • Eliminate the ability of the   convening authority to overturn convictions or change a
    conviction to a   lesser offense.

I am also a cosponsor of the “Combating   Military Sexual Assault Act of 2013” (S. 871), which
was introduced by   Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) on May 7, 2013.  This bill would provide
additional protections and resources to victims of sexual assault; mandate   the referral of
sexual assault cases to a felony-level court-martial; and   enhance the authority of the military’s
Sexual Assault Prevention and   Response Office.  S. 871 is currently awaiting consideration by the
Senate Committee on Armed Services.

Please know that I am deeply concerned by the   continued prevalence of sexual assault in the military,
and I am committed to   seeing that Congress enacts meaningful reforms to the military justice system
to better protect victims and to properly prosecute and punish assailants.

Once again, thank you for writing, and I hope   that you will continue to keep me informed about issues
of importance to you.   Should you have any further comments or questions, please feel free to   contact
my Washington, D.C. office at (202) 224-3841, or visit my website at www.feinstein.senate.gov.
Best regards.

Sincerely   yours,

Dianne Feinstein
United States Senator

Further information about my position on   issues of concern to California and the nation are available
at my website, Feinstein.senate.gov.    You can also receive electronic e-mail updates by subscribing
to my e-mail   list. Click here to sign up.  And please visit my YouTube, Facebook   and Twitter
for more ways to communicate with me.


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