Well, calls for change to the new changes for the prosecution of sex crimes have already begun. During the Conference over the NDAA FY 22, sexual harassment was removed from the list of covered offenses under the jurisdiction of a special trial counsel (STC). But, the President was tasked to enumerate an offense of sexual harassment under UCMJ art. 134. The President did so (along with other changes) in Executive Order 14062, of January 26, 2022, Annex at 21.
- (1) That the accused knowingly made sexual advances, demands or requests for sexual favors, or knowingly engaged in other conduct of a sexual nature;
- (2) That such conduct was unwelcome;
- (3) That, under the circumstances, such conduct:
- (a) Would cause a reasonable person to believe, and a certain person did believe, that submission to such conduct would be made, either explicitly or implicitly, a term or condition of a person’s job, pay, career, benefits, or entitlements;
- (b) Would cause a reasonable person to believe, and a certain person did believe, that submission to, or rejection of, such conduct would be used as a basis for decisions affecting that person’s job, pay, career, benefits, or entitlements; or
- (c) Was so severe, repetitive, or pervasive that a reasonable person would perceive, and a certain person did perceive, an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment; and
- (4) That, under the circumstances, the conduct of the accused was either:
- (i) to the prejudice of good order and discipline in the armed forces;
- (ii) of a nature to bring discredit upon the armed forces; or
- (iii) to the prejudice of good order and discipline in the armed forces and of a nature to bring discredit upon the armed forces.
Well, a press release from Congresswoman Jackie Speier tells us some change may be on the way.
Today, Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D-CA), Chair of the Armed Services Subcommittee on Military Personnel and Co-Chair of the Democratic Women’s Caucus, and Congressman Markwayne Mullin (R-OK), were joined by Representatives Veronica Escobar (D-TX), Troy Balderson (R-OH), Sylvia Garica (D-TX), Tony Gonzales (R-TX), and Anthony Brown (D-MD), in introducing the Sexual Harassment Independent Investigations and Prosecutions (SHIIP) Act to remove sexual harassment from the military chain of command. Senator Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Chair of the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Seapower, is introducing her companion legislation today as well, which marks the two-year anniversary of the murder of Army SPC Vanessa Guillén.
. . .
Specifically, the SHIIP Act extends protections against sexual harassment that Chair Speier secured in the FY22 NDAA, but were stripped out in conference.
[T]he bill would:
- Move prosecutorial decisions for sexual harassment from commanders to the new special trial counsel, created by the FY22 NDAA, so that independent military attorneys decide which sex-related offenses go to court-martial, and
- Require that the new, independent sexual harassment investigators created by the FY22 NDAA are outside of the chain of command of the victim and the subject and are trained in investigating sexual harassment.
Here is a link to the SHIP Act.