A new reporting system is set to launch in mid-2016 that will increase the government’s and the public’s ability to track military-based sex offenders. The United States Department of Defense (DOD) will be required to report names of military sex offender convicts to the Department of Justice (DOJ) federal sex offender database. From there, it can be passed on to any number of publically accessible lists, websites, and catalogues. The changes are being called for after it was discovered through multiple investigations that military personnel convicted of sex crimes had been able to avoid sex offender registration through legal loopholes.
According to the Associated Press, the majority of convicts in military prisons – roughly two-thirds of them – are there for sex crimes. About half of that population – or one-third of all military prison inmates – have been convicted of sex crimes involving children. U.S Representative for Colorado, Mike Coffman, expressed his own concern by saying that it is almost guaranteed that a military sex offender who shirks registration will commit a similar crime again. Part of the issue stems from the fact that military sex offenders do not have to register to any lists before they are released from confinement, but are instead expected to do so on their own once they return to their hometown.
When enacted, the changes to the systems should greatly expand the visibility of child sex offense cases in the military to the public. Court-martials – or the trials of military personnel – take place on military bases where the public and the press are rarely permitted to be present. To this end, cases are virtually invisible, at least until later this year.
A Different Perspective on the Changes
Some military and legal professionals wonder if the increased attention to sex crimes in the military will lead to a biased public and court-martial light. With so many sex offenders in military prison, it begs the question: how many were assumed guilty before their case was even tried? The answer may require additional investigation.
If you are an active military service member and have been accused of committing a sex crime of any sort, you should contact McCormack & McCormack as soon as possible. Our military criminal defense attorneys have 40+ years of collective legal, trial, and court-martial experience to use to your advantage. Tell us the details during a confidential case evaluation and we can tell you your legal options.