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Gillibrand says she'll revive military sexual assault bill

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand says she plans to keep fighting for a bill that would change the way rape and sexual assault crimes are prosecuted in the US military.

She says thousands of service members now being assaulted each year deserve more protection.

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Brian Mann
Adirondack Bureau Chief

"One thing they should not have to endure is sexual assault or rape at the hand, not of some foreign enemy, but someone in their own ranks. So we want to create more transparency, more accountability," Gillibrand said.

Last year, the Pentagon reported more than 3,500 sexual assaults -- a 43 percent increase over 2012. But Gillibrand, who spoke during a visit yesterday to Glens Falls, says far too many men and women still aren't reporting attacks by other service members.

"The reason nine out of 10 victims don't report these crimes is they've said they don't trust the chain of command will do anything," she added. "They fear or they've seen retaliation."

Gillibrand says all sexual assault cases should be handled by a military prosecutor and not by regular officers in the chain of command. She says the current system creates an obvious conflict of interest. Gillibrand's reform measure won backing from 55 Senators, including many Republicans, but was blocked last month by a filibuster. She says she'll revive the bill in the coming months.

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