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Defense Amendment Targets Repeat Sex Offenders in Military

Defense Amendment Targets Repeat Sex Offenders in Military

May 16, 2014 — Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) next week plans to propose an amendment that would enable investigators to more easily identify military service members accused in multiple sexual assault cases, CQ Roll Call reports.

McCaskill will introduce the amendment during the Senate Armed Services Committee's markup of the fiscal year 2015 defense authorization bill.

The amendment would require the Department of Defense to create a database to collect and store the names of alleged sexual assault perpetrators who are listed in filings known as restricted reports. The aim of the amendment is to help criminal investigators determine whether alleged perpetrators have been named in previous reports.

According to CQ Roll Call, restricted reports are filed by victims of sexual assault and allow them to access medical treatment and other assistance without launching an official investigation. The military's current policy prohibits collecting and storing the information in the reports.

McCaskill said in a statement that the "database would serve the dual purpose of protecting the anonymity of a victim who, facing the most personally painful moment of [his or her] life, chooses to make a restricted report, and at the same time give military law enforcement the tools to investigate a future sexual assault in order to put more perpetrators -- who are often repeat offenders -- behind bars."

Advisory Panel Backs Changes

According to CQ Roll Call, the amendment follows up on the FY 2014 defense authorization law, which ordered an independent advisory group called the Response Systems Panel to review whether DOD should create such a database.

Earlier this week, a subcommittee of that panel recommended that the Pentagon develop policies and procedures for collecting information on alleged perpetrators named in the restricted reports, including whether their identities should be revealed when they might be involved in other assaults (Scully, CQ Roll Call, 5/14).