U.S Army Rape Prosecutor suspended for assaulting female subordinate

US Army rape prosecutor suspended

Fri, 07 Mar 2014 01:07:41 GMT

The US Army’s top prosecutor overseeing sexual assault cases was suspended on Thursday over allegations of assaulting a female subordinate.

The allegation involves Lieutenant Colonel Joseph Morse, who supervises the army’s special victim prosecutors that handle sexual assault and domestic abuse cases.

The alleged incident took place in 2011 in a hotel room at a sexual assault conference.

“This reads like an article from the Onion,” Nancy Parrish, president of advocacy group Protect Our Defenders, said on Thursday. “Unfortunately there is absolutely nothing funny about it.”

“If true, this case is yet another disheartening example of the hollow pledges of ‘zero tolerance’ we have heard for more than 20 years,” Parrish wrote. “When the military has those at top of the chain who are in charge of fighting sexual assault accused of sexual misconduct at a conference on sexual assault it should be clear to every level headed human being [that] the status quo must be changed.”

Meanwhile, the US Senate rejected a bill to remove military commanders from decisions over the prosecution of sexual assault cases in the armed forces on Thursday.

Last week, Republican Senator Jerry Moran from Kansas also blocked a vote on Senator Kirsten Gillibrand Gillibrand’s military sexual assault legislation and another similar bill, saying an amendment on sanctions against Iran had to be added to the bills.

Advocates of the bill argue that the changes are necessary to combat an epidemic of rapes and sexual assaults in the military.

Pentagon estimates that at least 26,000 members of the military ware sexually assaulted in 2012. Observers say up to 90 percent of these cases go unreported.

Statistics also showed last week that the number of reported sexual assaults in the US military increased by more than 60 percent in 2013.

Pentagon spokeswoman Lieutenant Colonel Cathy Wilkinson said on February 26 that some 5,400 cases of sexual assault were reported last year.

“This is a 60-percent increase in victim reports” compared to the 3,374 reports the Pentagon received in 2012, she stated.

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