LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — State lawmakers Monday voted to approve legislation aimed at curbing a sharp rise in the number of reported sexual assault cases in the military.
KNX 1070’s Megan Goldsby reports State Senator Alex Padilla (D-Pacoima) wants to put cases involving the sexual assault of a service member of the California Military Department (CMD) under the jurisdiction of local civilian authorities.
In a unanimous 34-to-0 vote, the Senate approved Senate Bill 1422, which would eliminate any statute of limitation in cases of sexual assault in the CMD and require the department to report annually to the Governor and the Legislature on sexual assault statistics and the efficacy of the department’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (SAPR) program.
The CMD’s 24,000-person roster includes the California National Guard (CalGuard), the largest of the 54 state-level National Guards in U.S. states and territories.
Padilla hopes the legislation will not only be put into law but inspire the rest of the U.S. to take similar action.
“If we serve as a inspiration for other states to do the same and build national momentum for this type of change at the Congressional level, that’d be even better,” he said.
The most recent report from the Department of Defense estimated that 26,000 service members had experienced unwanted sexual contact in 2012, up from 19,000 in 2010.
Last year, U.S. soldiers were 15 times more likely to be raped by a fellow soldier than killed by an enemy, according to Padilla’s office. Final data obtained by The Associated Press show that about 14 percent of the reports filed last year involved male victims, CBS News reported.
The bill now goes to the Assembly for consideration.
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