The Free Press, Mankato, MN

State, national news

February 9, 2014

Documents reveal chaotic military sex-abuse record


Spohn cautioned that comparing the two sectors is a dicey exercise.

State and local prosecutors typically only file charges in cases they have a solid chance of winning. Conversely, the military may be able to secure at least mild punishment, such as a reduction in rank or loss of pay, in a weaker case because they have more options to penalize.

The military leadership's time to solve the crisis on its own has run out, according to Pentagon critics. A string of episodes in which senior officers were caught behaving badly is further proof that serious crimes should be dealt with outside the chain of command, they say.

"There is a perception out there right now that the military is out of control," said K. Denise Rucker Krepp, a former Coast Guard officer and attorney. "You are not going to attract the best and the brightest if people believe that if you go into the military you are going to be sexually assaulted."

Mark Russell, a psychologist and former Navy commander who was stationed in Japan, said putting commanders in charge of deciding how to proceed with sex abuse allegations can conflict with the unit's mission.

"The mission trumps every other aspect of military life, including sometimes, legal justice and moral standing," wrote Russell, now a professor at Antioch University in Seattle, in an email. "A climate emerges, whereby individuals may feel they can act with impunity, especially in the case ... where it may be 'he said, she said,' with 'good workers' often given the benefit of the doubt."

Many of the Japan cases involved an accuser who said he or she was sexually abused while too drunk to consent, or even unconscious. That makes it all the more difficult to determine whether a crime occurred.

"Weakness is a great fear in the military and something to be avoided," Russell wrote. "Therefore, women (or men) who go out drinking and are raped are often viewed as culpable for having been 'weak and vulnerable.'"

Text Only | Photo Reprints
State, national news
  • Cinema verite documentarian Robert Drew dies at 90 Filmmaker Robert Drew, a pioneer of the modern documentary who in "Primary" and other movies mastered the intimate, spontaneous style known as cinema verite and schooled a generation of influential directors that included D.A. Pennebaker and Albert M

    July 30, 2014

  • Homeowner killed, another injured in Vegas crime spree LAS VEGAS — A horrific carjacking and home invasion spree ended with two people dead and a woman in critical condition. One victim, Richard Ramos, a 59-year-old father of four, “fought to his death” to protect his wife and children from their attack

    July 30, 2014

  • Officer Shooting Minnesota-9 [Duplicate] UPDATE: Suspect in Minnesota officer killing in custody WEST ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Police in Minnesota say a man wanted in the shooting death of an officer is in custody after being shot by police. St. Paul police spokesman Sgt. Paul Paulos says 39-year-old Brian Fitch Sr. got out of a minivan firing at

    July 30, 2014 4 Photos

  • Officer Shooting Minnesota-3 [Duplicate] Minnesota officer killed making traffic stop WEST ST. PAUL (AP) — A police officer in Minnesota was fatally shot Wednesday while making a traffic stop and authorities said they were searching for a suspect. Mendota Heights police officer Scott Patrick, 47, was shot about 12:20 p.m. after pulli

    July 30, 2014 2 Photos

  • Possible suspect caught in Minnesota cop shooting WEST ST. PAUL (AP) — A potential suspect in the shooting of a police officer in Minnesota has been captured. Minnesota Public Radio News reports that the officer was killed. Television news footage showed the man being pulled from his vehicle Wednes

    July 30, 2014

  • Police shooting reported in West St. Paul WEST ST. PAUL (AP) — Police are responding to the reported shooting of an officer in West St. Paul. Details weren't immediately available. Calls from The Associated Press to several police and city departments in the area weren't immediately returne

    July 30, 2014

  • Mars rover Opportunity breaks the off-world driving record Opportunity, the little rover that could, has broken a 41-year-old driving distance record that’s out of this world. The decade-old NASA Mars rover has crossed the 25-mile mark, surpassing the 24.2-mile record held by the Russian moon rover Lunokhod

    July 30, 2014

  • Minnesota officials consider high-speed rail ROCHESTER, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota officials are holding public meetings on a proposed high-speed train linking Rochester to the Twin Cities. Transportation planners from state and federal departments are evaluating possibilities for the Zip Rail pas

    July 30, 2014

  • Study finds 5 servings of produce is enough, but we're not eating it How many times will we have to be told? Apparently we haven’t reached the point when we’ll change our habits, but here goes again: Eating five servings of fruits and vegetables every day can help us live longer. That comes from researchers’ analysis

    July 30, 2014

  • GOP gov hopeful Honour wants state spending cap Tells St. Cloud Times he wants a statutory budget cap linked to population and inflation.

    July 29, 2014