An investigation into sexual assaults on the children of military personnel has revealed that the military frequently falls short when it comes to protecting or providing justice to children of servicemembers assaulted by other underaged dependents.
An investigation by the Associated Press discovered that reports of raps and assaults among military minors are not frequently pursued by prosecutors or shelved by investigators, even if the aggressor confesses.
While the Pentagon seems unaware of how widespread the problem actually is, AP compiled nearly 600 cases in just over ten years, ranging from incidents at home to inside of a chapel bathroom.
“These are the children that we need to be protecting, the children of our heroes,” said Heather Ryan, a former military investigator.
During their review, AP had over 100 cases from Navy and Marine Corps bases, as well as overseas assignments.
In one case, a a 17-year-old boy (whose family was stationed in Japan) pulled a 17-year-old girl from a car in a school parking lot and took her to his residence, where she said he raped her. A medical exam of the girl reportedly turned his seminal fluids that matched her accused assailant.
Other cases involve much younger children, including toddlers.
One of the more disturbing trends from the investigation revolves around how the offenders are rarely rehabilitated or punished, a recurring pattern one investigator said has to do with Pentagon and Justice Department efforts to sweep the cases to the side.
“The military is designed to kill people and break things,” said former Army criminal investigator Russell Strand, one of the military’s pioneering experts on sexual assault. “The primary mission, it’s not to deal with kids sexually assaulting kids on federal property.”
According to the Star Advertiser, the cases are many and generally tend to have the same outcome- victims don’t receive justice and offenders go unpunished and untreated, leading many to question if they will ever strike again.
“This child needed help. He really, really needed help,” said former NCIS agent Heather Ryan, recalling a young man who sexually assaulted his half-sisters in 2011 . “I think of him a lot and wonder how he’s doing, and if he has hurt anybody else.”
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