Improving the Sexual Assault Program at the US Merchant Marine Academy

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The US Merchant Marine Academy has been under fire for years for its Sexaul Assault & Prevention protocols. Its students graduate and commision as United States Military Officers and are expected to represent America's finest. 

In December of 2017 Congress passed the National Defense Authorization Act of 2018. In this bill the US Merchant Marine Academy received directives and supporting legislation to strengthen its SAPR program. 

In February of 2018 the Academy took its stance on the new policy. A senior midshipman was found guilty of "Sexual Assault" and "Sexual Misconduct."  This midshipman received a punishment of a "set-back," which means he will be sent home for one year to complete a training program on sexual assault. He will then return to the Academy and graduate in June of 2019. This person will have a record of sexual assault and misconduct and the United States Merchant Marine Academy will graduate him and offer him a Commision as an Officer in the United States Navy. 

The NDAA 2018 defines  “(2) SEXUAL ASSAULT.—The term ‘sexual assault’ means an offense classified as a forcible or nonforcible sex offense under the uniform crime reporting system of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.”. This midshipman was declared guilty of Sexual Assault by the US Merchant Marine Academy superintendent Admiral James Helis.

During the Interview the alleged perpetrator was given the ability to interrogate the witnesses and victim. He was able to use the Victims instagram account and reputation to infer she was guilty. He was able to ask any questions and report every misconduct of the witnesses of the act in hopes of scaring off and discrediting witnesses.

The policy needs to be reviewed. A person under investigation for sexual assault should not be able to interrogate victims, question conduct records of witnesses, and lie about the details of the case. 

When a midshipman is found guilty of "Sexual Assault," like this midshipman was, there should be no second chance. The US Merchant Marine Academy had a "Stand-Down" in 2016 because the US Maritime workforce did not have proper training protocols and procedures for SAPR. This midshipman will graduate in 2019 as a Officer in the United States Military with a conduct record showing he was guilty of Sexual Assault. 

If you believe that the school needs to protect victims of sexual assault please support this petition so that no other sexual perpetrators will graduate from the US Merchant Marine Academy. 



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