How serious is the problem of child sexual abuse – specifically so-called “child-on-child” crime – at American military installations domestically and across the world?
Plenty serious, according to diverse sources centered on the problem. An investigatory team from the Associated Press has reported, for example, sexual assaults committed against children by children in close to 700 instances over the past decade on military bases and posts worldwide.
Of course, that number is likely underreported to a material degree, given the reluctance of many victims and their families to come forward with details of something they find both shameful and horrifying.
The topic of military child-on-child sexual assault is currently bathed in a harsh and adverse light in the wake of recently implemented and forceful congressional action. A U.S. Senate committee with oversight of the country’s armed forces has closely scrutinized military authorities’ handling of the problem, and found it wanting. Legislators are now demanding that Pentagon officials tasked with addressing and remedying what is clearly an alarming reality step aside and surrender control to the U.S. Department of Defense inspector general.
Lawmakers believe that such a change will lead to a truer and more “comprehensive assessment” of the issues and more responsive recommendations for solving them.
And the Senate was not done there. A related bill is now under consideration that calls for a transfer of legal jurisdiction in cases involving on-base child-linked sexual crimes from military leaders to local civilian authorities.
The DOD IG’s report is due December 1.