For the second time this year, a United States Air Force general has granted clemency to a convicted sex offender without any public explanation of “why”. And the case is getting attention just as the US military is making a stunning admission about sexual abuse in the ranks.
The Pentagon study says 26 THOUSAND people in the US military were sexually assaulted last year, up from 19 thousand in the year 2010. The numbers are high, but the majority of cases are not pursued by military authorities because they are usually not reported through official channels.
Congress and President Obama are demanding action.
“The bottom line is, I have no tolerance for this,” President Obama said, “If we find out somebody’s engaging in this stuff, they’ve got to be held accountable, prosecuted, stripped of their positions, court-martialed, fired, dishonorably discharged. Period.”
But for the second time this year, a three star Air Force General stepped over a legal ruling and overturned a sexual abuse conviction.
Lieutenant General Susan J. Helms was a role model for military women. She went to space aboard the space shuttle Endeavour in 1993. And the President nominated her to become vice commander of the Air Force’s Space Command.
But that’s on hold. Senator Claire McCaskill from the president’s own party is blocking Helms’ nomination until congress is provided more information about the officer’s previously unpublicized decision to overturn an aggravated sexual-assault conviction for a captain at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.
Helms’ actions are a rerun of a troubling incident in February. Lieutenant General Craig Franklin tossed out the sexual-assault conviction of a star fighter pilot in February.
Oh, and then there was the highly embarrassing arrest of the Air Force’s own point person on sexual-assault prevention. Police say Lieutenant Colonel was drunk when he approached a woman in a parking lot and grabbed her breasts and buttocks, only to have her turn around and clean his clock.
Obama ordered the Defense Secretary “to step up our game exponentially” to prevent sex crimes and said he wanted military victims of sexual assault to know that “I’ve got their backs.”