Defense Department Creates Office On Sex Cases


Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld will name a brigadier general to head a new office aimed at bringing more accountability to the military’s handling of sexual-assault cases, reports the Denver Post. Brig. Gen. K.C. McClain, who directs technical training from Randolph Air Force Base in Texas, is expected to be named this week. McClain headed an internal investigation this year into a wave of rape cases at Sheppard Air Force Base in Texas. Her investigation, initially criticized as inadequate by U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison eventually was broadened. The report found that more than 200 service members who were undergoing training at the base “indicated they had been sexually assaulted” but apparently did not report the crimes.

McClain will head an office designed to improve the response to sexual assaults after controversy over the military’s bungling of cases at home and in the Iraq war zone. The office, championed by several members of Congress and recommended by a Rumsfeld task force, is designed to give victims more access to rights advocates and social services, including counseling. Said Sarah Graham Miller, spokeswoman for the Washington-based victim’s advocacy group RAINN: “It’s going to take a strong leader and commitment from the top ranks to get effective reforms implemented. We’re hopeful that McClain is that leader and look forward to working with her.”


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