Heartbreaking stories of sexual assault perpetrated against female soldiers and military contractors, including those of Maria Lauterbach, Jamie Leigh Jones, and Lavena Johnson, have shown that women in the military face risk harassment, rape, and even murder.
At an oversight hearing on sexual assault held by the Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs last Thursday, Mary Lauterbach, the mother of Maria, and Ingrid Torres, a victim of sexual assault and an employee of the American Red Cross working with military bases, were called to testify. The subcommittee had also subpoenaed Dr. Kaye Whitley, director of the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (SARPO) office, and invited Michael Dominguez, principal deputy undersecretary for defense, to testify.
But Whitley didn't appear before the committee. When Subcommittee Chairman John Tierney (D-MA) inquired why Whitley hadn't shown, Dominguez said he instructed her not to testify before the committee. Tierney and Oversight Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-CA) noted that it was illegal for Whitley not to appear before the committee with a subpoena. "Dr. Whitley is in serious legal jeopardy," Tierney said. "This is an unacceptable position for the Department to take." As a result, he dismissed Dominguez before Dominguez even delivered his testimony.
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