Bill to Require Troops to Report Child Sexual Abuse Introduced

Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., has introduced a bill that would require US troops to report and respond to any child sexual abuse that takes place on US bases – domestic or overseas. Hunter, a former Marine Corps officer, has referred to the current policy as being “pathetic.” The current policy does not require US troops to assist children who are assaulted if the child is being raped by allied troops – even if the attack takes place on US-controlled bases.

If passed, the bill could be known as the “Martland Act.” This is in response to Sgt. 1st Class Charles Martland, whose Green Beret Army career is in jeopardy for beating up an Afghan police commander who had admitted he raped a child repeatedly. The child’s mother had come to the base to report the crime, but had been dismissed by the Afghan police commander and his people. The boy was 12 at the time of the attack.

“Sadly, I’m having to write Defense Department policy to make sure it’s illegal to rape kids on American bases,” Hunter said on the 4th of March this year. “It’s pathetic that we have to do this … it should not have to be done by Congress.”

Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif.
Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif.

A spokesperson for the Pentagon said that the Pentagon does not comment on pending or proposed legislation. However, last year a spokesperson said that there was “no express requirement that US military personnel in Afghanistan report” crimes or allegations of child sexual abuse, which is “a matter of domestic Afghan criminal law.” This was reported by the New York Times.

Child rape is considered illegal in Afghanistan, but it still goes on – mostly happening to boys who are between 10 and 18. In some parts of the country, the act is far more prevalent than in other parts. This is according to Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission. The crime is so long-standing that it has a name: “bacha bazi.” The crime is often committed by wealthy men against boys who are from poor families, according to the commission.

Within the Hunter bill, officially known as ”Mandating America’s Responsibility to Limit Abuse, Negligence and Depravity Act,” it was written that currently US troops who are serving in Afghanistan were advised to respect cultural and religious practices of Afghans, including the “bacha bazi” acts of rape.

“Because it is a culture norm we’re going to turn a blind eye?” Hunter said. “This has to change.”

Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.

Robert Partain

Robert Partain has been a professional writer for over 25 years. He spent ten years on active duty in the Army working as a medic and training NCO. While he covers any topic associated with military life, he specializes in writing about legislation that can affect active duty service members and veterans. Robert currently lives in the small town of Arab, Alabama.
Robert Partain
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