February 8, 2016

Mandatory reporting of sexual assaults in Iowa National Guard

The Iowa Senate has passed a bill that sets up a mandatory reporting system for alleged cases of sexual assault involving members of the Iowa National Guard.  Senator Steve Sodders, a Democrat from State Center, says Iowa will be among the first states to adopt a law on military sexual assaults.

“It says the commander must get a hold of law enforcement without delay,” Sodders says.

The Iowa National Guard’s leader would be notified of all cases of reported assaults involving his soldiers and airmen as well.

“And so he knows and then they can take their sort of the military side of what they would do as far as if there’s a court marshal or their investigation,” Sodders says. “That doesn’t stop a civilian investigation, though.”

However, a victim of a sexual assault who does not wish to press charges still could choose to tell their commander and the incident would not be referred to the Iowa National Guard’s leader, nor would local law enforcement be notified. The Iowa National Guard already has trained female and male advocates to help victims of sexual assault.

The bill passed the Senate Monday on a 47-0 vote. It now must clear a House committee by Friday to remain eligible for consideration in 2014.

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