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(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) this morning condemned the latest allegations of sexual misconduct in the military after it was reported yesterday that an Air Force sexual assault prevention officer was charged with sexual battery over the weekend.  A second report also indicated that another Air Force general granted “clemency to a convicted sex offender without any public explanation.”  This marks the second time this year that an Air Force official overturned a jury’s guilty verdict on a sexual assault case.  Shaheen, who Chairs the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Readiness and Management Support, has been a leader on addressing sexual assault in the military. 

Later today, Shaheen will be briefed by Major General Gary Patton, the Director of the Department of Defense Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office (SAPRO), on the SAPRO annual report before it is released later today.   

“These latest allegations are disgusting and unacceptable,” Shaheen said. “Sexual assault erodes the integrity of our military and as recent news suggests, more must be done to eliminate sexual assault in the United States military.”

“This afternoon I plan to relay serious concerns about this latest report and the ongoing prevalence of sexual assault in the military to Major General Patton. The military’s report must serve as a springboard to implement long overdue changes in our Armed Services,” Shaheen added.  “We’ve seen one too many reports about sexual assault in the military and it’s time for the Pentagon to take action.  We must do everything in our power to stop sexual assault within our armed services.”

Shaheen has worked extensively to combat sexual assault in the military and has advocated for survivors to get the care and services they need. Recently, she joined Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) calling on Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to release detailed information on the Air Force’s decision to overturn an aggravated sexual assault conviction of Lieutenant Colonel James Wilkerson.  In response, Secretary Hagel conducted an internal review before announcing he would seek changes to the military’s legal process.

Last year, Shaheen led the fight to repeal a discriminatory policy preventing female service members who were victims of rape or incest from receiving the same health care coverage as the civilians they protect. The amendment, which brings the Department of Defense’s reproductive health care polices in line with federal standards, passed with bipartisan support and was signed into law last December.