Military Sex-Assault Bill Cleared

Larry Downing/Reuters

Last night marked a small victory for proponents of military sexual-assault reform. By a vote of 97-0, the Senate unanimously approved a set of changes to the military justice system's handling of sex crimes, including getting rid of the “good soldier” defense, which allows sentences for crimes to be lessened if a soldier had a previously positive record. Still, the bill failed to incorporate last week's proposal by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand to remove the prosecution of sexual assault from top commanders and hand responsibility to independent prosecutors. House aides said the bill will not be addressed until late 2014 at the earliest.