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BC-AS--Japan-US Military-Sexual Assaults,ADVISORY, AS

February 8, 2014

EDITORS:

Ahead of an expected U.S. Senate vote as early as this coming week on the role of commanders in the military justice system, an Associated Press investigation into the military’s handling of sexual assaults in Japan has found a pattern of random and inconsistent judgments in which most offenders are not incarcerated. Instead, commanders have ordered “nonjudicial punishments” that ranged from docked pay to a letter of reprimand.

The examination of 1,000 sex crime reports between 2005 and 2013 at the United States’ largest military installation overseas opens a rare window into the world of military justice. Suspects often received light sentences despite serious findings against them. Victims became increasingly wary of cooperating with investigators.

BC-AS--Japan-US Military-Sexual Assaults was sent Thursday, Feb. 6, in advance for print use Monday, Feb. 10. The story is about 2,700 words and is accompanied by an abridged version, which is about 820 words. A glance on the findings of the AP investigation has been sent. A second one, on changes approved by Congress aimed at strengthening the Defense Department’s ability to protect victims and increase prosecutions of offenders, will be sent Monday morning EST.

Accompanying this package are photos, a graphic and an interactive with annotated investigation documents. APTN, online and U.S. video will be available.

A searchable, annotated database of sexual assault files will be available. These records contain graphic descriptions of cases involving U.S. military personnel at bases in Japan. The 600-plus cases, reported sex crimes from 2005 to early 2013, provide the most detailed and comprehensive account to date of how commanders and investigators handle these offenses. The AP obtained the documents from the U.S. Naval Criminal Investigative Service through the Freedom of Information Act.

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For questions, please contact Trish Wilson at twilson@ap.org.

The AP

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