Victims of sexual assault and harassment encouraged to apply for discharge upgrades

The Army Times is reporting on a new provision of the National Defense Authorization Act that encourages the Discharge Review Boards to liberally consider upgrade applications of service members separated for misconduct related to sexual assault or harassment.

The intent is to bring the same standards to victims as we have in post-traumatic stress cases. The law even encourages the boards to waive the 15-year statute of limitations when appropriate.

Our firm has been a leader in defending service members with post-traumatic stress. Though we defend sexual assault cases, we've also been a leader in representing sexual assault victims. We do not judge people that come to us for help.

This blog has written extensively on our experiences at the discharge boards with post-traumatic stress cases. I would imagine the standards will be similar for sexual assault and harassment cases.

I expect the boards will be examining the following questions:

1. Was the misconduct leading to separation related to the sexual assault or harassment?

2. Is it documented or reasonable to conclude that there was, in fact, a sexual assault or harassment?

3. Was there any history of misconduct before the assault or harassment?

4. Are there mitigating facts in the case?

5. Was the misconduct premeditated or a momentary lapse in judgment?

A consult with one of our lawyers can be valuable. We are in front of the discharge review board frequently and have a sense of who the current members are. We are typically able to we'll prepare clients for the questions they will receive.
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