Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand and Claire McCaskill have been at war over how the military should handle sexual assault since last year. Both commented today on the recently resolved case against Brigadier General Jeffrey Sinclair, but his example doesn't bolster either of their positions about reform.
Sinclair was sentenced in March to a $20,000 fine for engaging in an adulterous relationship with his accuser and abusing a government credit card. He was originally charged with sexual assault, and his case played out under a microscope while Gillibrand and McCaskill debated reform in Congress. Because a judge ruled that Sinclair's court-martial was unduly influenced by the Pentagon, Sinclair was allowed to take a plea bargain that involved dropping the sexual assault charges. Gillibrand calls this justice not served. McCaskill sees the bright side.
In an interview with USA Today published Thursday, Gillibrand sighs,
It's infuriating, because you don't see justice being done. You see a system that's not working for anybody. ... If [Sinclair] had received a conviction, he would have had jail time. That certainly would have made me feel a lot better, if he had gone to jail.
Gillibrand wants to take sexual assault cases outside the military chain of command. Her bill that would have accomplished that failed by five votes in the Senate earlier this year.