Senators part ways on handling military sexual assault cases
Updated: Thursday, November 21 2013, 09:44 PM MST
By: Gina Benitez
EL PASO, Texas -- The two Texas Republican senators are split on how they believe sexual assault in the military should be handled.
Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York has drafted the amendment, part of a bigger defense spending bill that has bipartisan support -- proving the issue cuts party lines.
She wants to take the chain of command out the sexual assault prosecution process.
"The terms that Sen. Gillibrand put forth, I found powerful in terms of how to deal with a serious problem. Our commanders, our generals, our admirals have worked in good faith and diligently to correct this problem. It has proven a persistent problem. And yet their efforts to correct the problem have not proven successful," said Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.
Both Republican Texas senators Cruz and John Cornyn want to change the numbers they believe are unacceptable.
"According to the Defense Department, 3,374 of unwanted sexual contact were reported last year. And more than 23,000 additional cases of unwanted sexual contact went unreported," Cruz said.
But Cornyn wants to keep the cases in the hands of military commanders within the victim's chain of command.
"The decision whether to bring a prosecution for a crime like sexual assault should be made by an impartial military prosecutor and not by the commanding officer who may well be the commanding officer both of the victim of the crime and the perpetrator," Cruz said.