Senators Grill Military Leaders over Sexual Assault

Debate over taking commanders out of the decision-making loop


The nation's top military brass came under withering criticism Tuesday from high-profile female senators who slammed the military's handling of allegations of sexual assault.  

"Not all commanders are objective," said Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York.  "Not every single commander necessarily wants women on the force, not every commander believes what a sexual assault is, not every single commander can distinguish between a slap on the ass and a rape because they merge all of these crimes together."

Gillibrand has proposed legislation requiring sexual assault charges be handled outside the victim's chain of command.  "'You have lost the trust of the men and women who rely on you, that you will actually bring justice in these cases," she said. "They are afraid to report. They think their careers will be over."