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Pentagon revamps sex assault rules

The Washington Post

Under pressure from Congress, the Pentagon on Thursday announced several revamped policies to prevent and prosecute sexual assault cases, but the measures did little to satisfy some lawmakers and advocacy groups pushing for bigger changes.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel approved new regulations to provide more support to victims of sexual assault, standardize policies among the armed services and ensure senior commanders are notified immediately about every reported incident.

Many of the rules were under consideration by Congress, and lawmakers generally welcomed them. But some said they would continue to push for an overhaul of military law that would require uniformed prosecutors, instead of commanders, to oversee investigations of sexual abuse and other serious crimes.

Among the policy changes the Pentagon announced Thursday is a rule that will assign legal representatives to all sexual assault victims so that they have someone to formally advocate on their behalf during investigations and trials.