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Following McCaskill Request, Lieutenant General Craig Franklin Resigns Command, Will Retire from Air Force

Former sex crimes prosecutor and Armed Services Committee member called on the Air Force last month to remove Franklin from command

January 8, 2014

WASHINGTON - Just weeks after calling on the Air Force to remove a Lieutenant General from command, former sex crimes prosecutor and U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill today released the following statement after learning that Lieutenant General Craig Franklin has retired from the United States Air Force:

"Lt. Gen. Franklin's decision to resign is the right one. His handling of sexual assault cases is the best possible illustration of why civilian review, elimination of commanders' ability to overturn convictions, and so many other protections are included in our recent defense bill."

In response to Franklin's handling of a sexual assault case at Aviano Air Base in Italy, McCaskill grilled military leaders last year in several Senate hearings and introduced legislation - which has since been passed into law-that curtailed the authority of military commanders to dismiss jury convictions against sex offenders. That proposal became law as part of last year's annual defense bill, which ultimately included a host of historic reforms to curb sexual assaults in the military, including:

  • Requiring civilian review if a commander declines to prosecute a case
  • Assigning victims their own independent legal counsel to protect their rights and fight for their interests
  • Mandating dishonorable discharge for anyone convicted of sexual assault
  • Criminalizing retaliation against victims who report a sexual assault
  • Eliminating the statute of limitations in rape and sexual assault cases

In December, it was reported that Lt. Gen. Franklin recently recommended against taking a sexual assault case within his command to trial. The investigating officer, an attorney outside the chain of command, had also recommended against trial.

Under an alternative legislative proposal advocated by New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, that particular case would then be over, as under the proposal, there would be no opportunity for the commander to overrule such a decision and no check on the command. The case would never come before a commander for consideration-once military legal authorities determine a case should not proceed to trial, no trial could be ordered, denying a day in court for the victim. McCaskill has opposed that proposal, because it removes accountability from commanders in sexual assault cases, increases the likelihood that victims will be retaliated against for reporting sexual assaults, and decreases the likelihood that perpetrators will be brought to trial.

Read more about McCaskill's fight to curb sexual assaults in the military at
www.McCaskill.senate.gov/MilitaryJustice.

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