Monday, December 14, 2015

False Allegations and the UCMJ

Reggie Yager, a Major in the Air Force Judge Advocate General Corps, has written an extremely thorough article about false allegations and sexual assault prosecutions under the UCMJ.  Before Senators McCaskill and Gillibrand focused on the sexual assault epidemic that plagued universities, they were highly entrenched in the invisible war of sexual violence plaguing the military.  I would hope that a military law review would reach out to Major Yager and publish this article.

Major Yager begins his article with a discussion about the mob mentality when it comes to sexual assault and how statistics can be manipulated into creating a solution in search of a problem.  He moves on to the consequences that occur when a wrongly accused individual is convicted and how prevalent false allegations are.  Once he provides example after example of wrongful convictions based on false allegations, he addresses the studies on the rates of false allegations and shows how the reported false allegation rate of 2% to 10% is unreliable.

Major Yager finishes his article with recommendations on who to improve the UCMJ to protect the innocent wrongly accused.  Congress has spent 10 years dismantling the protections provided to accused Servicemembers that helped to ensure that false accusations do not turn into wrongful convictions.  This article is a great resource to show the evolution of sexual assault prosecutions in the military and how the lessons learned could be coming to a DA's office or College disciplinary board near you.  This is a courageous undertaking and COTWA salutes Major Yager for sharing this informative article on the Social Science Research Network.