Child-on-child sexual abuse is obviously a deeply concerning problem in any environment where it rears its head. Evidence clearly shows that such behavior occurs in virtually every realm where children gather, from schools and churches to camps and care centers.
And on U.S. military installations, where a recent in-depth investigation concludes that the sons and daughters of American servicemembers are sexually assaulted or otherwise abused in alarmingly high numbers.
And what is worse, note researchers pointing to data culled in close examination of approximately 600 abuse cases on military bases over the past decade, is that there is not much -- or often any-- legal response to such incidents.
One regarded expert on child sexual assault in the U.S. Armed Forcesstates that the primary mission of the military is decidedly "not to deal with kids sexually assaulting kids on federal property." The above-cited AP probe notes that many cases involving child-on-child abuse "get lost in a dead zone of justice."
Why is that? How could it be the case that so many military-linked juveniles are molested and then not protected?
For starters, the 70,000-plus students in the Pentagon's school system are not covered by military law. That throws their cases -- if reported -- into the proverbial lap of the U.S. Department of Justice, with AP noting that the DOJ "isn't equipped or inclined to handle cases involving juveniles."
As evidence of the government's disinclination to get involved in military child sexual abuse matters, AP investigators offer this statistic: Reportedly, there is a proven trail of federal prosecutors following through on such cases passed along to them by military officials less than 15% of the time.
The problem would logically seem to be especially outsized in California, given estimates that the state has the largest military population among all states in the country.