As 31(b)log reports here, on Friday, the Department of Defense issued this new instruction on responding to sexual assault allegations. DoDI 5505.18 (Jan. 25, 2013). The thrust of the new policy is o enhance coordination with civilian law enforcement authorities and facilitate prosecution of alleged sexual assaults by civilian authorities where the military can’t or won’t prosecute.
Specific interesting provisions include:
(1) “If the alleged assault occurred on a military installation and the accused and/or victim is not a military member or dependent, the Federal Bureau of Investigation must be notified . . . .”;
(2) “If the location is subject to concurrent jurisdiction, the local police department must be notified and may accept investigative responsibility if the [Military Criminal Investigative Organization (MCIO)] declines; or the investigation may be worked jointly between the local law enforcement agency and the MCIO. If the location is subject to exclusive State jurisdiction, the State has investigative authority with the MCIO providing assistance as requested or deemed appropriate.”;
(3) ”All adult sexual assault investigations assumed by an MCIO will be investigated thoroughly and in compliance with DoD Instructions 5505.03, 5505.07, 5505.11, and 5505.14.”;
(4) “Adult sexual assault allegations, as listed in the Glossary, of which an MCIO becomes aware, will be investigated regardless of the sexual orientation of either the victim or the subject of the investigation (hereinafter referred to as the “subject”). Unless pertinent and significant to the investigation, the sexual orientation of a subject, victim, or any individual associated with the investigation:
“a. Will not be addressed during the course of the investigation.
“b. Will only be documented if it is an essential part of the investigation.
“c. Must not be disclosed to anyone except those with an official need to know.”;
(5) ”MCIOs may not close an adult sexual assault investigation in which they are the lead investigative agency without the written disposition data documented in the final investigative report or database.”;
(6) “All MCIO adult sexual assault investigative reports will be retained for a period of 50 years.”;
(7) ”[I]n all investigations relating to sexual assaults involving members of the Armed Forces; as defined in the Glossary, all physical and forensic evidence must be retained for a period of at least 5 years from the date of the seizure of the evidence. However, items gathered as evidence may be returned to their rightful owner prior to the 5-year period only after written evidence disposition is obtained from the convening authority when:
“a. It is determined that the allegation is unfounded, i.e., the crime did not occur and/or it was a false allegation;
“b. The subject is acquitted and the appeal process has been exhausted; or
“c. The evidence is taken from a suspect who is later deemed to be the wrong person, i.e., mistaken identity.”