The investigation, conducted by the Associated Press, pieced together interviews, records and data from the military’s four main branches and school system in the US and abroad, concluding that tens of thousands of children in America’s military families face sexual violence by other minors in their homes, schools, playgrounds, food courts, and even churches on base.
AP said it uncovered nearly 600 cases of sexual assault since 2007. Significantly, the investigation notes that all too often, reports of sexual assaults and even rapes don’t make it past the desks of prosecutors, even when the suspected attackers confess. Others are then shelved by criminal investigators.
According to the report, the problem stems from the fact that unlike their parents, children aren’t covered by military law, while the US Justice Department is either inadequately equipped or simply uninterested in handling cases involving juveniles.
AP cites case after case of crimes stretching from Japan to Germany to bases inside the US itself of rapes, violent sexual assaults, inappropriate touching, and other crimes where the perpetrators go unpunished.
Leandra Mulla, a victim of one of these attempted sexual crimes, said that another part of the problem was the military’s focus on “try[ing] to uphold an image,” which leads to them covering up what goes on at its bases.
Ex-army criminal investigator Russell Strand seemed to confirm the military’s nonchalant attitude to the burgeoning problem, saying that the purpose of the military was “to kill people and break things. The primary mission, it’s not to deal with kids sexually assaulting kids on federal property.”