Murkowski questions military officials over how sexual assaults involving minors are resolved

Senator Lisa Murkowski (File photo by Skip Gray/ 360 North)

Alaska U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski raised the issue of sexual assaults involving minors on military bases during a Senate Defense Appropriations hearing last week.

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”Investigators released a total of eight cases at Alaska installations, five of them reportedly at Fort Wainwright,” Murkowski said. “So, of course this certainly gets your attention.”

Senator Murkowski asked U.S. Army Secretary Mark Esper about how youth on youth assaults are handled. Esper responded that the Army conducts an initial investigation, but current protocol requires cases to be handed off to local, state or federal authorities for prosecution.

”We have some authority, but it’s mainly administrative. So what we could do is we could bar that kid from being on post, or we could remove the family from the post,” Esper said. “But beyond that, the authorities really reside outside the military to do that, and I think that’s something we need to take a look at.”

Esper says the Army’s focus is providing victim and family support services.