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Leaders drop key military sexual assault reforms from defense authorization bill

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Posted at 4:17 PM, Dec 10, 2013
and last updated 2013-12-10 16:18:21-05

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand proposed an amendment to remove sexual assault cases from the chain of command. According to the Huffington Post, some victims say they are afraid to report the assaults because they do not trust the chain of command to handle these cases.

On Monday, leaders in the House and Senate pre-negotiated a defense bill that does not include this amendment. The bill has 53 public supporters but falls short of the 60 needed to overcome a filibuster.

The bill that leaders have agreed upon strips commanders in the military of the power to overturn jury convictions, requires a civilian review if a commander declines to prosecute a case, assigns victims an independent legal counsel, mandates a dishonorable discharge for anyone convicted of sexual assault and it criminalizes retaliation against victims who report sexual assaults.

The bill also would eliminate the statute of limitations in rape and sexual assault cases.

Click here to read more about this on the Huffington Post.