Military Sexual Assault – Can I See What The Accuser Said?

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Unveiling Access to Accuser Statements in Military Sexual Assault Cases

Sexual assault allegations within the military is an issue that has garnered significant political and media attention in recent years. In this blog post, we will delve into the topic of military sexual assault allegations and address a common question: Can the accused see what the accuser said? We also explore the vital role of military lawyers in ensuring a fair and just process for all parties involved.

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Understanding Military Sexual Assault

Military sexual assault generally refers to any unwanted sexual contact that occurs within the armed
forces. The Uniform Code of Military Justice, Article 120, outlines the law applicable to sexual assault and
rape. Service Members accused of sexual assault may face severe consequences if found guilty. This
includes the possibility of a dishonorable discharge, imprisonment, the end of their military career, and
sex offender registration.

Can the Accused See What the Accuser Said?

In the military justice system, both the accuser (often referred to as the “complainant” or “victim” and
the accused have rights. These rights are designed to ensure a fair and just process for all parties
involved.
One common question that arises in cases of military sexual assault is whether the accused can see what
the accuser said while the case is being investigated by law enforcement. The short answer is that no, the
subject of an investigation will not have access to what the accuser has claimed, or any other reports
within the possession of law enforcement. An accused is entitled to this information only if a case if
referred to trial by Court-Martial.

Legal Proceedings: If the case goes to court-martial or a legal proceeding, the accused generally has the
right to confront their accuser and review all evidence presented against them, including statements
made by the accuser. This is in line with the principles of due process.

The Role of Military Lawyers

Military lawyers play a crucial role in the process of addressing military sexual assault allegations.

Accuser’s Representation: The Military will appoint a Special Victim’s Counsel to represent an accuser.
This JAG attorney is separate and apart from the prosecutors.

Accused’s Defense: For the accused, military justice lawyers are essential in building a strong defense.
They investigate the allegations, review evidence, and advocate for the rights of the accused, including
the right to see and challenge the statements made by the accuser. An accused has a right to both a
military attorney and a civilian military lawyer.

Ensuring Due Process: Military lawyers are committed to upholding the principles of due process and
fairness. They play a crucial role in ensuring that the legal proceedings are conducted in a just and
transparent manner.

Conclusion

Sexual assault allegations in the military are some of the most serious allegations that a service member
can face. While the accused may not have immediate access to the details of what the accuser said
during the initial stages of an investigation, due process ensures that they have the opportunity to
confront and challenge the evidence presented against them during legal proceedings should the
member be formally charged. It is imperative to obtain legal representation as soon as possible to
hopefully ensure a fair and just outcome.

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