VB Commonwealth’s Attorney appointed to DoD’s sexual assault crimes panel

Posted at 5:04 PM, May 08, 2013
and last updated 2013-05-09 17:56:39-04

Harvey L. Bryant, the Commonwealth's Attorney for the City of Virginia Beach has been appointed to the Department of Defense's "Response Systems to Adult Sexual Assault Crimes Panel."

The announcement was made Tuesday by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel.

Hagel vowed that commanders will be held responsible for sexual assaults under the DOD's new sexual assault prevention policy.

Bryant had planned to retire at the end of the year, but now he'll take on this new role.

"I've already thought of several changes that may need to take place," he says, "Some suggestions are victims of sexual assault would not be required to report to their own command, within their own command structure as it is now, could go to another command or some other entity," he says.

President Obama and Secretary Hagel want the panel to fast-track solutions that they come up with over the next year.

The panel had its work cut out for it, he admits, but Bryant says our military deserve a proper working environment without reinventing the wheel.

"It's not being brought together to change the culture in the military, but to change the way victims can report and sensitively handle the way these things are investigated."

Bryant is the only current civilian prosecutor of the nine appointees.

Others include:

Former Representative Elizabeth Holtzman

  • James Houck, vice admiral, U.S. Navy (Ret.)
  • Judge Barbara Jones, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York (Ret.)
  • David Lisak, Ph.D.
  • Colleen McGuire, brigadier general, U.S. Army (Ret.)
  • Melinda Dunn, brigadier general, U.S. Army (Ret.)
  • Holly O’Grady Cook, colonel, U.S. Army (Ret.)
  • Professor Elizabeth Hillman, Hastings Law School

The panel will conduct independent reviews of systems used to investigate, prosecute, and adjudicate crimes involving adult sexual assault and related offenses in order to improve effectiveness.