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Barbara Boxer, USMC vet team up to fight sexual assault in the military

May 31, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
A United States Marine Corps veteran shared her story of sexual assault Friday at a news conference with California Sen. Barbara Boxer.

Stacey Thompson's story follows a Pentagon report revealing thousands of cases of sexual assault throughout the military.

"On the night of Dec. 9, 1999, I was raped by another male sergeant from my new unit," said Thompson. "When I showered up for work that morning, I again reported the rape to my female sergeant. She advised me to go back to my barracks room and assured me that she would take care of it. Nothing was done."

She says officials tried to cover it up, and she was harassed and transferred several times.

"Military sexual assault is a shame upon our nation. There is no other way to put it," said Boxer.

Boxer is proposing a law that would strip commanders of that power when it comes to sexual abuse cases. The cases instead would be handled by military prosecutors.

This comes after another case at the U.S. Naval Academy just surfaced. An accuser says three midshipmen assaulted her a year ago. At first she didn't want to pursue the case, but in February she decided to move forward.

A Pentagon report says there are an estimated 26,000 sexual assault cases in the military. Boxer says as many as 90 percent of those go unreported. She says the victims are scared.

"They know that the current military justice system gives commanders the power to make sure that even rock solid cases never see the light of day in court. That's the power of the commander today," said Boxer.

Next week the Armed Services Committee will hold a hearing on the issue of sexual assault in the military and will consider Boxer's bill.

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