Sen. Ted Cruz and others introduce bipartisan legislation to combat military sexual assault

US Politics

Juan Cruz, boyfriend of Army soldier Vanessa Guillén, kneels in front of a mural honoring her Sunday, July 5, 2020, in Houston. Army investigators have identified the body of a soldier who vanished more than two months ago from a base in Texas, according to a lawyer for the soldier’s family. Remains found last week buried near Fort Hood belong to Guillén and Army officials informed her family in Houston Sunday, attorney Natalie Khawam told The Associated Press. (Godofredo A. Vásquez/Houston Chronicle via AP)

EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — Congress is giving bipartisan support in an effort to combat military sexual assault.

U.S. Senators Ted Cruz, Kirsten Gillibrand, Chuck Grassley, Joni Ernst, Richard Blumenthal, and Mark Kelly announced an introduction to their Military Justice Improvement and Increase Prevention Act on Thursday. 

“Our daughters and sons sign up to defend this nation knowing that they will face risk, knowing that they face the risk of being killed by our enemies, but none of our daughters and sons should face the risk of assault from their fellow servicemen and women. It is horrific. It is unacceptable that sexual assault is as prevalent as it is today in the military,” said Sen. Ted Cruz.

Now, the Senators are calling for their colleagues on both sides of the aisle to take swift action to pass common sense reform. The legislation transfers prosecutions of sexual assault and harassment from the chain of command to independent and trained professional military prosecutors.

The Military Justice Improvement and Increasing Prevention act would take action to establish a more transparent and professional military justice system for serious crimes that include:

  • Rape and sexual assault
  • Murder 
  • Manslaughter 
  • Child endangerment
  • Child pornography
  • Negligent homicide

Cruz is hopeful the legislation will encourage survivors to report assault.

“I believe passing this bill will increase the reporting rates, it will increase the deterrence, and that will decrease, and I hope substantially decrease, the rate of sexual assault in the military,” he said.

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