Gillibrand: The Military Justice Improvement Act Would Give Service Members a Justice System That Works (July 1, 2019)

Brian Lewis MJIA.jpg

You can listen to U.S. Navy veteran Brian Lewis’ March 13, 2013 testimony to the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Personnel here.

“Nearly 30 years ago, when George H. W. Bush was president and Dick Cheney was the secretary of defense, the Pentagon made a promise to our service members. Dozens of Navy and Marine Corps aviation officers had just been investigated for the infamous Tailhook sexual assault scandal, and America’s military leadership affirmed a “zero tolerance” policy toward sexual assault within their ranks. The military had a sexual assault problem, and pledged to solve it.

It’s painfully clear that the military has now failed at this mission by almost any metric. For years, survivor after survivor has told us the change in the system we needed to make to end this scourge — the same change that a number of our allies around the world have already made: take the adjudication of these crimes outside of the chain of command and allow trained military prosecutors to prosecute them.” Read more opinion at Military Times here.

“The Military Justice Improvement Act would take the prosecution of sexual assault and other serious crimes, such as murder, out of the chain of command. It would keep those crimes in the military justice system, but put the decision to prosecute them into the hands of actual military prosecutors who are trained to deal with complex legal issues.” –Senator Kirsten Gillbrand (Military Times, July 1, 2019)

Gillibrand Leads Bipartisan Coalition to Reform Military Justice System  -Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (May 16, 2013)

Related Links:
Pass the Military Justice Improvement Act @SenGillibrand
S. 1789: Military Justice Improvement Act of 2019
S. 1789: Military Justice Improvement Act of 2019 [Full Text]
Comprehensive Resource Center for the Military Justice Improvement Act
Sens. Cruz, Gillibrand Reintroduce Military Justice Improvement Act
Udall, Heinrich Reintroduce Military Justice Improvement Act To Address Crisis Of Military Sexual Assault
Leahy Joins Gillibrand And Others To Reintroduce Military Justice Improvement Act
Hirono Wants To Change How The Military Prosecutes Sexual Assault
Senator Martha McSally’s Responsibility to Survivors of Military Sexual Assault
McSally defends keeping military commanders involved in sexual assault cases
Gillibrand: “Status Quo” Not Working With Military Sexual Assaults
Veterans for Peace: Sexual Assault on Military Members Press Conference, Seattle, Washington (August 11, 2006)
Jamie Leigh Jones Testified at the House Judiciary Committee Halliburton/KBR Iraq Rape Case Hearing (December 19, 2007)
HOR Oversight Subcommittee on National Security & Foreign Affairs Held a Hearing on Sexual Assault in the Military (July 31, 2008)
Former Representative Bruce Braley (D-IA) Introduced the Holley Lynn James Act (April 12, 2011)
Lauterbach Case Prompts Policy Reforms for Victims of Sexual Assault in the Military (December 25, 2011)
Sexual Misconduct Allegations at Lackland AFB | C-SPAN (January 23, 2013)
Panetta Is Lifting Ban On Women In Combat Roles (NPR, January 23, 2013)
Sexual Assault in the Military, Part 1 | C-SPAN (March 13, 2013)
Sexual Assault in the Military, Part 2 | C-SPAN (March 13, 2013)
Gillibrand Leads Bipartisan Coalition to Reform Military Justice System [Full Video] | Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (May 16, 2013)
Gillibrand Builds Bipartisan Support for Change of Military Justice Code (May 16, 2013)
S. 967: Military Justice Improvement Act of 2013 – U.S. Senate Voting Record (March 6, 2014)
The war in Congress over rape in the military, explained (June 8, 2016)
Sexual Assault in the Military | C-SPAN (March 6, 2019)
S. 1789: Military Justice Improvement Act of 2019 Reintroduced by Republican Senator Ted Cruz of Texas and Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York (June 13, 2019)
Senate Armed Services Committee Members & House Armed Services Committee Members (June 21, 2019)
Gillibrand: The Military Justice Improvement Act Would Give Service Members a Justice System That Works (July 1, 2019)

S. 1789: Military Justice Improvement Act of 2019 Reintroduced by Republican Senator Ted Cruz of Texas and Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York (June 13, 2019)

Bipartisan Support MJIA 2.jpg

Military Justice Improvement Act #PassMJIA

Sens. Cruz, Gillibrand Reintroduce Military Justice Improvement Act (June 13, 2019)

“U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and I today led a bipartisan group of senators to reintroduce the Military Justice Improvement Act, which would professionalize how the military prosecutes serious crimes by moving the decision over whether to prosecute them to independent, trained, professional military prosecutors.” –Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)

The Military Justice Improvement Act (MJIA) of 2019 is sponsored by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and cosponsored by Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), and Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.).

Editor’s Note: The below U.S. Senate list was compiled from the S. 967: MJIA of 2013 Senate Voting Record. The last time the Senate voted on the MJIA was March 6, 2014. Senator Gillibrand has reintroduced the MJIA every year since. Since 2014, the make-up of the Senate has changed. The still seated Senators who voted Yea and Nay in 2014 are listed as Yes and No in this list. The new senators who cosponsored the MJIA in 2019 have been added to the Yes list; the new Senators who stand with military brass (McSally & Ernst) have been added to the No list; and the rest of new Senators have been listed as unknown (Unk) because we don’t know how they will vote on this bill. Please contact your two Senators, these Senators, and both the SASC Members & HASC Members. Click on the Senator’s name and submit your support for the MJIA via the web or click on the Yes, Unk, or No to send them a message via Twitter. We provided an example tweet you can feel free to copy and paste or you can submit your own personalized message.

Example Tweet:

.@Sen_JoeManchin

Reasons we need your support:
1. Kamisha Block @USArmy: wp.me/p3XTUi-yc
2. Paige Briles #Army: wp.me/p3XTUi-5kn
3. Brandon Caserta @USNavy: wp.me/p3XTUi-8zg
4. @forthood Stateside Deaths: wp.me/p3XTUi-5oF

#PassMJIA @SASCDems

UNITED STATES SENATORS (2019)

C = Cosponsor of Military Justice Improvement Act
S = Senate Armed Service Committee (SASC) Member

State District Name Party Vote
NH Sr, C, S Sen. Jeanne Shaheen Democratic Yes
VT Jr, C Sen. Bernard Sanders Independent Yes
MN Sr, C Sen. Amy Klobuchar Democratic Yes
TX Jr, C Sen. Ted Cruz Republican Yes
NM Jr, C, S Sen. Martin Heinrich Democratic Yes
MA Sr, C, S Sen. Elizabeth Warren Democratic Yes
HI Sr Sen. Brian Schatz Democratic Yes
NY Jr, C, S Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand Democratic Yes
CA Sr, C Sen. Dianne Feinstein Democratic Yes
PA Sr, C Sen. Bob Casey Democratic Yes
CT Jr Sen. Chris Murphy Democratic Yes
HI Jr, C, S Sen. Mazie Hirono Democratic Yes
KY Sr Sen. Mitch McConnell Republican Yes
VT Sr, C Sen. Patrick Leahy Democratic Yes
DE Jr, C Sen. Chris Coons Democratic Yes
CO Sr, C Sen. Michael Bennet Democratic Yes
WA Sr Sen. Patty Murray Democratic Yes
IA Sr, C Sen. Charles Grassley Republican Yes
NJ Sr, C Sen. Bob Menendez Democratic Yes
OR Jr, C Sen. Jeffery Merkley Democratic Yes
ME Sr Sen. Susan Collins Republican Yes
IL Sr, C Sen. Richard Durbin Democratic Yes
WY Sr Sen. Michael Enzi Republican Yes
WA Jr Sen. Maria Cantwell Democratic Yes
MI Sr Sen. Debbie Stabenow Democratic Yes
NY Sr Sen. Charles Schumer Democratic Yes
OR Sr, C Sen. Ron Wyden Democratic Yes
OH Sr, C Sen. Sherrod Brown Democratic Yes
NJ Jr, C Sen. Cory Booker Democratic Yes
NM Sr, C Sen. Tom Udall Democratic Yes
KS Jr Sen. Jerry Moran Republican Yes
MD Sr Sen. Ben Cardin Democratic Yes
KY Jr, C Sen. Rand Paul Republican Yes
MA Jr, C Sen. Edward Markey Democratic Yes
AK Sr, C Sen. Lisa Murkowski Republican Yes
CT Sr, C, S Sen. Richard Blumenthal Democratic Yes
WI Jr, C Sen. Tammy Baldwin Democratic Yes
MN Jr, C Sen. Tina Smith Democratic Yes
NH Jr, C Sen. Maggie Hassan Democratic Yes
CA Jr, C Sen. Kamala Harris Democratic Yes
IL Jr, C, S Sen. Tammy Duckworth Democratic Yes
MD Jr Sen. Chris Van Hollen Democratic Unk
AK Jr, S Sen. Dan Sullivan Republican Unk
IN Jr Sen. Mike Braun Republican Unk
IN Jr Sen. Todd Young Republican Unk
NV Jr Sen. Jacky Rosen Democratic Unk
NV Jr Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto Democratic Unk
LA Jr Sen. John Kennedy Republican Unk
LA Jr Sen. Bill Cassidy Republican Unk
ND Jr, S Sen. Kevin Cramer Republican Unk
WV Jr Sen. Shelley Moore Capito Republican Unk
CO Jr Sen. Cory Gardner Republican Unk
AR Sr, S Sen. Tom Cotton Republican Unk
NE Jr Sen. Ben Sasse Republican Unk
SD Jr, S Sen. Mike Rounds Republican Unk
MT Jr Sen. Steve Daines Republican Unk
NC Jr, S Sen. Thom Tillis Republican Unk
TN Jr, S Sen. Marsha Blackburn Republican Unk
AZ Jr Sen. Kyrsten Sinema Democratic Unk
UT Jr Sen. Mitt Romney Republican Unk
GA Jr, S Sen. David Perdue Republican Unk
FL Jr, S Sen. Rick Scott Republican Unk
MO Jr, S Sen. Josh Hawley Republican Unk
MS Jr Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith Republican Unk
MI Jr, S Sen. Gary Peters Democratic Unk
OK Jr Sen. James Lankford Republican Unk
AL Jr, S Sen. Doug Jones Democratic Unk
AZ Jr, S Sen. Martha McSally Republican No
IA Jr, S Sen. Joni Ernst Republican No
MT Sr Sen. Jon Tester Democratic No
ID Jr Sen. James Risch Republican No
FL Sr Sen. Marco Rubio Republican No
ND Sr Sen. John Hoeven Republican No
RI Jr Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse Democratic No
WI Sr Sen. Ron Johnson Republican No
VA Sr Sen. Mark Warner Democratic No
SC Jr Sen. Timothy Scott Republican No
VA Jr, S Sen. Tim Kaine Democratic No
DE Sr Sen. Tom Carper Democratic No
NE Sr, S Sen. Deb Fischer Republican No
MS Sr, S Sen. Roger Wicker Republican No
ID Sr Sen. Mike Crapo Republican No
AL Sr Sen. Richard Shelby Republican No
ME Jr, S Sen. Angus King Independent No
RI Sr, S Sen. Jack Reed Democratic No
MO Sr Sen. Roy Blunt Republican No
TN Sr Sen. Lamar Alexander Republican No
SD Sr Sen. John Thune Republican No
UT Sr Sen. Mike Lee Republican No
PA Jr Sen. Patrick Toomey Republican No
OH Jr Sen. Rob Portman Republican No
TX Sr Sen. John Cornyn Republican No
NC Sr Sen. Richard Burr Republican No
SC Sr Sen. Lindsey Graham Republican No
OK Sr, S Sen. Jim Inhofe Republican No
KS Sr Sen. Pat Roberts Republican No
WY Jr Sen. John Barrasso Republican No
WV Sr, S Sen. Joe Manchin Democratic No
GA Sr Sen. Johnny Isakson Republican No
AR Sr Sen. John Boozman Republican No

Related Links:
S. 967: Military Justice Improvement Act of 2013 – U.S. Senate Voting Record (March 6, 2014)
Pass the Military Justice Improvement Act @SenGillibrand
S. 1789: Military Justice Improvement Act of 2019
S. 1789: Military Justice Improvement Act of 2019 [Full Text]
Military Justice Improvement Act of 2019 Would Remove Decisions on Sexual Assault from the Chain of Command
Sen. Martha McSally’s stunning rape revelation shocks Capitol Hill, prompts calls for military justice reform
Presidential candidate, Army veteran Tulsi Gabbard says military sexual assault is ‘rampant,’ at SXSW town hall
Bringing MST home, to Congress
Senator Renews Push to Distance Commanders from Military Prosecutions
Bills Pending US Congress Senate Armed Services Committee
Shanahan calls for reforms as military sexual assaults rise by 38%; highest for young women
2020 Democrats say they have plans to address military sexual assault crisis
Gillibrand re-introduces military justice bill
Sens. Cruz, Gillibrand Reintroduce Military Justice Improvement Act
Udall, Heinrich Reintroduce Military Justice Improvement Act To Address Crisis Of Military Sexual Assault
Leahy Joins Gillibrand And Others To Reintroduce Military Justice Improvement Act
Hirono Wants To Change How The Military Prosecutes Sexual Assault
Senator Martha McSally’s Responsibility to Survivors of Military Sexual Assault
McSally defends keeping military commanders involved in sexual assault cases
Gillibrand: “Status Quo” Not Working With Military Sexual Assaults
Senate Armed Services Committee Members & House Armed Services Committee Members (June 21, 2019)

DOD Releases Annual Report on Sexual Harassment & Violence at the Military Service Academies, Academic Program Year 2017-2018 (January 31, 2019)

Department of Defense“Today, the Department of Defense released the Annual Report on Sexual Harassment and Violence at the Military Service Academies, Academic Program Year 2017-2018…There were 117 reports of sexual assault received across all three academies. This is an increase of five from the prior academic program year, indicating confidence in response measures, however, surveyed measures of unwanted sexual contact and sexual harassment increased compared to rates last measured in 2016. There was also an overall increase in sexual harassment.” Read more here. -Department of Defense (January 31, 2019)

To view the full report, visit SAPR.mil.

Related Links:
DOD Releases Annual Report on Sexual Harassment & Violence at the Military Service Academies, Academic Program Year 2017-2018 (January 31, 2019)
Annual Report on Sexual Harassment and Violence at the Military Service Academies (MSAs) for Academic Program Year (APY) 2017-2018
USA Today publishes fake news story about sexual assault at the military academies | CAAFlog
Department of Defense Retaliation and Response Strategy (July 2017)
Fiscal Year 2017 Annual Report on Sexual Assault in the Military (April 2018)
Department of Defense Instruction 6495.02 | Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (SAPR) Program Procedures

People Magazine Investigates Premiered ‘Terror in Philadelphia’ on Investigation Discovery: Air Force SrA Troy Graves Serving Life Sentence for Rape & Homicide (November 12, 2018)

ID Go: In 1998, a gifted Philadelphia graduate student is found murdered in her bed. The hunt for her killer forces police to reevaluate a series of unsolved crimes, turning the city upside down. Will her killer be caught or will he strike again? -Terror in Philadelphia, People Magazine Investigates (S3, E2)

Date of Arrest: April 23, 2002
Offender: Troy Graves, 29, US Air Force service member
Victims: Shannon Schieber, 23, University of Pennsylvania student (rape/homicide), multiple rape victims in Pennsylvania & Colorado
Circumstances: Shannon Schieber was enrolled as a Phd. student at the Wharton School of Business, on May 7, 1998, Shannon was studying for exams when a neighbor heard what sounded like cries for help, he called 911 to report that his neighbor was asking for help, the police arrived but no one answered the door and the neighbor backed off his statement, they searched the property and the neighbor said it could have been outside so they left, Shannon’s brother showed up the next day and Shannon didn’t answer the door, the neighbor told her brother what he heard the night before, they broke into the apartment and found Shannon naked on her bed, Shannon was strangled to death and it appeared she tried to fight off her attacker, police found DNA at the scene, DNA ruled out those close to Shannon, Shannon’s parents were outraged that the man who killed their daughter was in the apartment when the police knocked on her door, but the police did their job right and by the book, a few days before the murder, Shannon reported being followed home one night, she was scared, so police started investigating the stranger angle, perhaps this is a serial rapist, they look into sex crimes in the area, they want to match the DNA to other sex crimes in the area, in February 1999, they got a DNA match, 2 other sexual assaults had occurred but they were coded as misdemeanors, the assaults occurred just a few blocks from Shannon’s apartment, in June and July 1997, two more sexual assaults were connected to the offender bringing the total to 5, the PPD coded these sexual assaults as misdemeanors as well, they downgraded the offenses because it lessoned the load for the police, and made the arrest rate look better than it was, Shannon’s case helped enact change in Philadelphia, if they had investigated these cases, everyone would have known there was a serial rapist, Shannon would not be dead if she knew what was going on, the DNA still didn’t have a match to the offender, in 1997, a sketch was drawn from the recollections of the first victim, they got a new composite, this offender would enter the home, hold the victim down on the bed, rape them or make them perform oral sex, it was about control and domination for this guy and he was also somewhat of a romantic, once they acquiesced, he would treat them like a date, he would get comfortable with the victims, they determined he was a light skinned black male based on information he shared with one victim about his life growing up with bi-racial parents, he was dubbed the Center City rapist, in August 1999, no other cases were reported since Shannon’s murder, the case went cold, the police got a bulletin in 2001 from Fort Collins, Colorado, the offenders modus operandi sounded familiar to the Philadelphia PD, on June 13, 2001, one victim was home when she was attacked from behind and raped, after she acquiesced, the rapist became gentle as if he was a boyfriend, after he left, she called 911, she was his third victim in Fort Collins, they were all blitz attacked, FC police were investigating a serial rapist, a fourth & fifth rapes were reported, he made a mistake and left behind a ball cap at the fifth victims home, Fort Collins DNA was matched to the rapes in Philadelphia, PPD gave FCPD the composite drawing, police received a letter in the mail from the suspect, he was taunting them, in the fall of 2001, the attacks in Fort Collins stopped, meanwhile the PPD started focusing on cross referencing names of suspects with the two geographic locations, they got a match for Air Force service member Troy Graves, he was in Philadelphia, Fort Collins, and now at Warren AFB in Cheyenne, Wyoming, in 2002, the police had the new suspect in their sites, the police learned that Troy was also investigated by the Office of Special Investigations, it was over charges of harassing a female colleague, the charges were dropped but there was still something suspicious there, Graves has a clean criminal record and no finger prints on file, the case was circumstantial, they reached out to Graves to come to the police department and do an interview, Troy Graves and his wife showed up to the Fort Collins PD, the police immediately separated the couple, his wife admitted that he had insomnia and went for walks and drives at night and that honestly she thought he was having an affair, meanwhile Troy denied knowing anything about the crimes, the police confronted him about the rapes in Fort Collins, he denied being arrested for any sex crimes, he denied being investigated by the Air Force, he did not want to provide his fingerprints but a warrant was issued to compel him, the fingerprints were a match, Troy Graves was arrested and booked into custody, this case changed the PPD policies on sexual assault to include how evidence is handled and how the victims are treated and interviewed
Disposition: Troy Graves feared a trial would not go in his favor in Fort Collins, Colorado, he pleaded guilty in exchange for a life sentence without the possibility of parole; Pennsylvania wanted to seek the death penalty but Shannon’s family did not want that because Shannon wouldn’t have wanted that, Graves entered into a plea agreement and got life in prison plus sixty years

Notable Quotes: “We have to change the system but not put people to death.” -Vicki Schieber (Shannon’s mom)

Source: ‘Terror in Philadelphia’ People Magazine Investigates

Shannon Schiebercredit: Courtesy Schieber Family

Shannon Schieber (Photo: People Magazine Investigates)

Editor’s note: With a cable subscription, you can download the free ID Go app and watch all of the Investigation Discovery programming at your convenience. And for those who do not have cable, you can watch “unlocked” episodes on the ID Go app including the latest premieres. Download the ID Go app and binge away. For those who prefer commercial free programming during your binge session, Prime Video has an ID channel: ‘True Crime Files by Investigation Discovery” available for $2.99 a month. It’s a compilation of older seasons but totally worth the cost if you are a true crime addict.

Related Links:
U. student killed in Center City
Family, friend mourn Schieber’s death
Grief, Questions After Student is Slain
DNA tests clear ex-boyfriend in Schieber murder
Airman arrested in sexual assaults
Center City rapist suspect arrested
Suspected Serial Rapist Arrested
Colo. airman arrested on sex charges suspected as Center City Rapist
Colorado Suspect Is Believed Tied to Other Attacks
Airman trained at VAFB arrested in Colorado sex assaults
Airman’s DNA Linked to Slain Md. Woman
Officials: DNA Evidence Links Colorado Man to Philly Rapes, Murder
Airman Awaits Hearing in Rape Case
Troy Graves: I did it… and ‘I’m sorry’
Serial rapist says he’s sorry
Remorseful airman admits murder, rapes
Admitted serial rapist now will face a charge of murder
USAF content with civilian prosecution of Graves
Serial rapist pleads guilty in Colorado
Graves Pleads Guilty In Philadelphia Rapes, Murder
Victims speak out; Graves gets life
Colorado: Life Sentence For Airman
Airman gets life sentence in string of sexual assaults
A baffling case: The women who loved Troy Graves
The story of Shannon Schieber
Why two mothers back death penalty repeal
A Place of Peace | Bethesda Magazine
Death Penalty Vs. Life: An Issue Of Closure Vs. Peace
Victim’s family moves “from pain to peace”
Investigating rape in Philadelphia: how one city’s crisis stands to help others
Woman advocates repeal of death penalty as part of unconditional pro-life policy
What are Fort Collins’ most infamous moments?
Rape is Rape, Isn’t It? | ProPublica
Rape is Rape, Isn’t It? | The Marshall Project
The Annual Ritual Shaping How the Philadelphia Police Department Handles Rape, Abuse Cases
How one woman changed the way Philly police handle rape
Why is the death penalty discussed in religious terms?
How do you fix a broken system? One U.S. city offers a model for handling sex-assault cases
How a Business Student’s Dying Cries of ‘Help Me’ Eventually Led to a Serial Rapist
Death penalty: Parents of murder victim oppose killer’s execution
Mom of Wharton Student Found Raped, Murdered in 1998 Still Wonders: ‘How Could Somebody Do That?’
Troy Graves | Murderpedia, the encyclopedia of murderers
Terror in Philadelphia | People Magazine Investigates | Investigation Discovery (S3, E2)
All Charged Up | Forensic Files | FilmRise