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Congress members push military sex abuse bill

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A handful of House and Senate members introduced a bill Thursday that would mandate a dishonorable discharge for any service member convicted of rape or sexual assault.

After the initial complaint, the bill would allow a commander to re-locate the suspect away from the victim.

The tough stand coming after a series of high profile incidents - from Air Force Lt. Col. Jeff Krusinski charged with fondling a woman in Arlington last month to Army Sgt. Michael McClendon accused of being a peeping tom at West Point.

"Never again should we have a victim of a sexual assault report having to salute their assaulter,” says Ohio Representative Mike Turner. “If you commit a sexual assault the message needs to be clear. You're out."

A recent Pentagon report indicated as many as 26,000 reports of sexual assault in the military last year.

A top former military official says the reaction to sexual assaults in the military in the past was a "climate of acceptance."

Some military experts believe military commanders will eventually take accountability for the problem - but not until Congress forces their hand. It’s an issue seemingly gaining more bipartisan support as each new assault allegation is revealed.

 

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