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Sexual assault reports from Fort Bragg increased 28 percent

Sen. Gillibrand on sexual misconduct

RALEIGH, N.C. -- A summary released by the Department of Defense shows reports of sexual assault from Fort Bragg increased by 28 percent in 2016 over the year before.

The summary says Fort Bragg received 146 reports of sexual assault in 2016 compared to 114 reports in 2015.

The summary notes that the location of the assault and the location of the report don't necessarily coincide.

"One of the features of the department's reporting program is that service members can report allegations of sexual assault at any time and at any place," Dr. Nate Galbreath, deputy director of the military's Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office, said in a statement. "As a result, the number of reports listed for an installation doesn't necessarily mean that the alleged incident occurred there. A report could involve allegations for an incident that occurred while on deployment, while away on leave, or even prior to entering the military."

Camp Lejeune had 169 reports of sexual assault in 2016, compared to 164 the year before.

At Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, the number of reports dropped, from 49 in 2015 to 27 in 2016. Seymour Johnson Air Force Base had 13 reports in 2016, unchanged from the previous year.

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Last week, New York Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand reintroduced the Military Justice Improvement Act, which seeks to "professionalize how the military prosecutes ... sexual assault."

On "CBS This Morning" Thursday, Gillibrand said 59 percent of service members who reported sexual assault last year also reported experiencing retaliation for doing so.

"What we have to do is change the dynamic," Gillibrand said. "We don't want commanders making the decisions about which cases have to go forward to trial and which cases don't because those commanders are neither lawyers nor prosecutors nor trained, and they will have biases."

Gillibrand said that those decisions should be instead made by trained military prosecutors.

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