Service men, women claim military failed to reduce sexual assaults

Posted at 3:00 PM, May 17, 2013
and last updated 2013-05-17 19:36:40-04

RICHMOND, Va (WTVR) -- Today a landmark case played out in Richmond at the U.S. Court of Appeals.  The argument from the 28 plaintiffs--both men and women--is the military failed to protect them by not reducing rape and sexual assaults within the armed services.

Both the prosecution and defense argued in front of a panel of three judges.  The case known as Kori Cioca vs. Donald Rumsfeld was previously shot down by another judge.

The defense argued there is a statute that states the military is granted immunity.  The military can't be sued for injuries that occur while serving.

But prosecuting attorney Susan Burke fired back and asked the judges to honor the service men and women who "are bringing this issue to light."  The prosecutor telling CBS 6 reporter Jerrita Patterson the civil case was "tough terrain."

CBS 6 legal analyst Todd Stone added at this time it is uncertain what will happen next with the case.

"The law looks pretty clear that the military has immunity in situations were someone is injured within the military and there's a good reason for that obviously," Stone said.  "Chances are it's a real long shot for the plaintiffs in this case to come out with any sort of victory."

In total 25 women and three men are part of the civil case.  The judges are expected to issue a written decision within a few months.