Senator Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) Cosponsored the Military Justice Improvement Act; Currently Serving as Senate Armed Services Committee Member (May 16, 2013)

Mazie Hirono

Senator Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Senate Armed Services Committee

Hawaii Delegation Backs Reforms Against Military Sexual Assaults (May 16, 2013) by Kery Murakami, Honolulu Civil Beat

New legislation would make it easier for victims of sexual assaults in the military to come forward.

“WASHINGTON, D.C. — A burgeoning scandal over sexual assaults in the military is fueling calls from congressional lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to support a bill that gives victims greater confidence that they’ll get justice. At an emotional press conference on Thursday where former service members spoke of being sexually assaulted while in the military, Sen. Mazie Hirono and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard joined a bipartisan group in both chambers in pushing for reform. The issue was a personal one for Gabbard, who served two tours of duty in the Middle East with the National Guard. Though she was not available for comment Thursday, she told CNN earlier this month that rape culture was prevalent during her first deployment to Iraq, to the point where soldiers were trained on protecting themselves from other soldiers.”

At [the] press conference, Jennifer Norris said she was raped while serving in the U.S. Air Force. “At first I was too afraid to report my assault to my chain of command, but two years later I was forced to report due to the escalation of the behavior and the fear that I would be raped again,” she said. Norris…said she’d been reluctant to report the rape because, “in the Air Force, I witnessed first hand what happens to those who stepped forward to report their assaults. I did not want to be stigmatized for reporting my assault — as I tried to move forward with my career. Instead, the best option for me was to try and endure it, to suck it up and try and make it until I could get transferred somewhere else — only to have it happen over and over again, like a recurring nightmare.” –Honolulu Civil Beat (May 16, 2013)

Read more from Honolulu Civil Beat here.

In the News:

U.S. Senator Mazie K. Hirono was joined today by victims of sexual assault in the military and organizations who assist victims of Military Sexual Trauma (MST) to announce new bipartisan, bicameral legislation that would reform the military justice system by removing the prosecution of all crimes punishable by one year or more in confinement from the chain of command, except crimes that are uniquely military in nature, such as disobeying orders or going Absent Without Leave. -Mazie Hirono (September 25, 2013)

Senator Mazie K. Hirono joined a diverse coalition, led by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), to call for the creation of a fair military justice system to reverse the systemic obstacles that sexual assault victims face. The Military Justice Improvement Act would remove the military’s chain of command’s sole decision-making power over whether cases move forward to trial. -Mazie Hirono (November 6, 2013)

Hirono Speaks In Support Of The Military Justice Improvement Act. -Mazie Hirono (November 14, 2013)

With Vote Looming, Hirono Urges Support For Military Justice Improvement Act -Mazie Hirono (November 20, 2013)

Before Senate Vote, Hirono Urges Colleagues To Pass Military Justice Improvement Act -Mazie Hirono (March 6, 2014)

PBS NewsHour: Hirono Fights For Military Justice Improvement Act -Mazie Hirono (March 7, 2014)

Senator Hirono Calls to Address Military Sexual Assault -Mazie Hirono (May 24, 2016)

Senator Hirono Presses Marine Corps Commandant for Commitment to Address Military Sexual Assualt -Mazie Hirono (March 14, 2017)

Related Links:
Senator Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Senate Armed Services Committee
S.967 – Military Justice Improvement Act of 2013
S.1752 – Military Justice Improvement Act of 2013
Rape victims testify about assaults in Military (March 13, 2013)
Hawaii Delegation Backs Reforms Against Military Sexual Assaults (May 16, 2013)
Tough military sexual assault bill introduced (May 17, 2013)
Hirono visits 25th Infantry Division, Schofield Barracks (April 8, 2013)
Hawaii delegation supports bill on military sexual assault (May 17, 2013)
Women in Congress Leading the Charge on Changing the Culture of Sexual Assault in the Military (May 18, 2013)
Women in the Senate Confront the Military on Sexual Assaults (June 3, 2013)
Senate set for battle over military sexual assault (June 12, 2013)
Diverse coalition behind Gillibrand sexual assault bill (July 16, 2013)
Military Sexual Assault Bill Would Reassign Authority (July 21, 2013)
Military Sexual Assault Bill Would Reassign Authority (July 21, 2013)
Hirono Joins Colleagues To Announce Bill To Stop Sexual Assault In The Military (September 25, 2013)
Hirono Calls For Fair Military Justice System For Survivors Of Sexual Assault (November 6, 2013)
Hirono Joins Bipartisan Group of Colleagues to Call for Fair Military Justice System for Sexual Assault Survivors (November 6, 2013)
Group of senators begin push to remove sex assault cases from chain of command (November 6, 2013)
McCaskill, Blunt seek to reform military sexual assault proceeding law (November 12, 2103)
Hirono Speaks In Support Of The Military Justice Improvement Act (November 14, 2013)
Rekha Basu: An epidemic of sexual assault in the military (November 19, 2013)
With Vote Looming, Hirono Urges Support For Military Justice Improvement Act (November 20, 2013)
Gillibrand, McCaskill Resume Military Sexual-Assault Debate (February 6, 2014)
Before Senate Vote, Hirono Urges Colleagues To Pass Military Justice Improvement Act (March 6, 2014)
PBS NewsHour: Hirono Fights For Military Justice Improvement Act (March 7, 2014)
Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand And Claire McCaskill Begin To Take On College Sexual Assault (April 4, 2014)
U.S. Senators Serious About Sexual Assault (April 21, 2014)
Retaliation Against Victims of Military Sexual Assault Still Persists (December 4, 2014)
Senators demand transparency in US military justice system (December 8, 2015)
Pentagon data on child sex crimes in the military doesn’t show full picture (January 4, 2016)
Senator Hirono Calls to Address Military Sexual Assault (May 24, 2016)
Senator Hirono Presses Marine Corps Commandant for Commitment to Address Military Sexual Assualt (March 14, 2017)
Hirono, Gillibrand Re-Introduce Legislation to Address Crisis of Military Sexual Assault (November 16, 2017)
Military Justice Improvement Act Targets Sex Assaults (November 20, 2017)
Defense Department targets Air Force Academy’s use of mental diagnoses to oust cadets who report sexual assault (March 1, 2018)
Pentagon IG opens evaluation of Air Force Academy sexual assault prevention office (March 1, 2018)
Senators Hirono, Gillibrand Reintroduce Legislation to Bring Justice to Survivors of Sexual Assault in the Military (June 14, 2019)
Senate Armed Services Committee Members & House Armed Services Committee Members (June 21, 2019)
Hirono Calls For Fair Military Justice System For Survivors Of Sexual Assault
Hirono Joins Colleagues To Announce Bill To Stop Sexual Assault In The Military
Senator Hirono Calls to Address Military Sexual Assault

Former Representative Bruce Braley (D-IA) Introduced the Holley Lynn James Act (April 12, 2011)

[Former] Rep. Bruce Braley introduces the Holley Lynn James Act — a bill to help victims of sexual assault and domestic violence in the military get justice. The bill is named after Holley Lynn James, a constituent of [former] Rep. Braley who was killed by her husband while both were in the service. -[Former] Rep. Bruce Braley (April 12, 2011)

In Their Name:

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Holley Lynn James Wimunc 2

2nd Lt. Holley Lynn James, U.S. Army

“The U.S. military could crack down on internal cases of sexual and domestic abuse. That’s if a bill that [former] Congressman Bruce Braley has written becomes law. The bill is named after this former Dubuque [Iowa] woman. In 2008, Holley Lynn James’ husband killed her at their home at a military base in North Carolina. Both James and her husband John Wimunc were in the military. [KCRG spoke with James’ father] Call it a gut feeling or a father’s intuition, during the spring of 2008 Jesse James knew something wasn’t right with his daughter’s marriage. ‘We were constantly calling the unit, calling the unit and they would do something but it didn’t last very long’ (Jesse James) Two months before her death, Army 2nd Lt. Holley James filed a domestic violence complaint with police against her estranged husband Marine Corporal John Wimunc.

[Wimunc] later killed Holley, dismembered her body, then set her apartment on fire. ‘The military has never had a system of investigating and prosecuting these cases’ (Jesse James). But [former] Congressman Braley’s new bill aims to change all that. It would create an Inspector General’s office to handle abuse cases. There would be a resource department for victims and would include a neutral third party investigator. ‘This isn’t an indictment on military leaders, it’s just that people who are more qualified with the life experiences to investigate and prosecute these things need to be doing it’ (Jesse James). James says he’ll never know but a department like this may have saved his daughter’s life…John Wimunc pleaded guilty to Holley James murder and a judge sentenced him to life in prison without parole. James had two children from a previous relationship. Jesse James says the children are doing well and living with their father…”

“Last year the Department of Defense reported more than 3000 instances of sexual assault in the military. Now [former] Iowa Congressman Bruce Braley has introduced legislation that aims to bring that number down. ‘When it has to do with woman serving their country in the military, I can’t think of a better reason for people to come together and come up with a solution to an alarming problem’ (Rep. Bruce Braley). In Dubuque today, Braley spoke about the Holley Lynn James Act. It would help victims of sexual and domestic abuse in the military. The bill is named after the Dubuque native and Army 2nd Lt. [Holley Lynn James] who was killed by her husband [John Wimunc] in 2008. The bill would enlist the office of Inspector General to provide independent oversight in reported cases.” –KCRG-TV (April 12, 2011)

Related Links:
Rep. Braley introduces Holley Lynn James Act (April 12, 2011)
H.R.1517 – Holley Lynn James Act (112th Congress, 2011-2012)
To amend titles 10 and 28, United States Code, to provide for military sexual assault and domestic violence accountability, and for other purposes.
Domestic Violence, Where Does it End? (Interview with Jesse James)
Braley says Defense Department moves involving domestic violence are encouraging
Accountability for Sexual Assault Perpetrator in the Military
Battle over dedication to the military
New Braley ad pushes Senate hopeful’s ability to work across party lines
Slain soldier’s father lauds Braley
Sgt. Bill Coffin Murdered Ex-Fiancee After Civilian Courts Issued Protective Order, Judge Alleges Army Routinely Ignores Court Orders (December 15, 1997)
Army Staff Sgt. Paul Norris Fatally Shot Army Spc. Kamisha Block in Iraq After She Ended a Forbidden Relationship, Then Ended His Own Life (August 16, 2007)
Camp Lejeune Marine Maria Lauterbach & Unborn Child Murdered, Remains Discovered in Fellow Marine’s Backyard; Cesar Laurean Sentenced to Life in Prison, No Parole (December 15, 2007)
Army Nurse Lt. Holley Lynn James Murdered by Marine Husband the Day After She Announced Divorce; John Wimunc Plead Guilty, Sentenced to Life in Prison (July 9, 2008)
HOR Oversight Subcommittee on National Security & Foreign Affairs Held a Hearing on Sexual Assault in the Military (July 31, 2008)
History: The Military And Domestic Abuse (2009)
Congress Told That DOD Data on Sexual Assault and Rape in Military Is ‘Lacking in Accuracy, Reliability and Validity’ (2010)
Lauterbach Case Prompts Policy Reforms for Victims of Crime in the Military (December 25, 2011)
Air Force TSgt. Jennifer Norris Testified Before the House Armed Services Committee in Washington DC (January 23, 2013)
Evidence Reveals Army Reserve Recruiter Adam Arndt Murdered High School Student & Recruit Michelle Miller, Then Killed Self; Army Claims Double Suicide (April 8, 2013)
WMAR-2 News: Family of Katherine Morris wants Dept. of Justice to investigate death (August 10, 2015)
An Open Letter to the Senate and House of Representatives in Support of the Military Justice Improvement Act (June 1, 2016)
Army Pfc. Shadow McClaine Reported Missing at Fort Campbell; Ex-Husband Sgt. Jamal Williams-McCray & Spc. Charles Robinson Pleaded Guilty to Murder (September 2, 2016)
Military Policy and Legislation Considerations for the Investigations of Non Combat Death, Homicide, and Suicide of US Service Members (2016)
Army Pvt. Paige Fontenot Briles Found Unresponsive in Vehicle at Fort Hood Housing in Texas; Initially CID Investigated as Homicide But Later Ruled Suicide (December 24, 2016)
30 Domestic Abuse Cases in the Military That Ended in the Murder of Female Partners
48 Hours NCIS Premiered ‘Trail of Fire’ on CBS: Holley Wimunc, Domestic Violence, and the Holley Lynn James Act (June 26, 2018)
Military Families for Justice