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Begich Echoes Support for Military Sexual Assault Bill to Air Force General

Meets with Director of Air Force’s Sexual Assault, Prevention and Response Office

U.S. Sen. Mark Begich today met with Maj. Gen. Margaret Woodward, the Director of the Air Force’s Sexual Assault, Prevention and Response Office, to discuss steps the Air Force is taking to reduce sexual assault in the military and what improvements can be made to create a safe environment for our servicemen and women.

“The issue of sexual assault in our military is both serious and unacceptable. I was pleased to meet with Gen. Woodward today and hear the important work the Air Force is doing to create the safe environment our military men and women have a right to,” said Begich. “Although Maj. Gen. Woodward and I disagree on the most effective path forward, I’m glad to hear of the progress the Special Victims Counsel has made in representing survivors of sexual assault.  Even while we face difficult decisions involving conflict in the Middle East, keeping our military men and women safe within the ranks remains a top priority for me and one I will continue to champion here in the Senate.

Given the rising incidence of sexual assault cases in the military and recent high profile reprieves issued by commanders to sexual assault criminals, Sen. Begich continued to echo his support for a bill that would strengthen prosecution of sexual assault crimes in the military by taking away the authority of commanders to overturn or lessen court-martial verdicts in sexual assault cases and prohibit the military chain-of-command from determining whether sexual assault cases are prosecuted.

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