and Kyla Campbell
WASHINGTON - Rep. Mike Turner took umbrage at a fellow Republicans’ comments on sexual assault in the military Wednesday, saying they diminish the epidemic of sexual assault in the military.
Turner, R-Dayton, was specifically irked at comments made by Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., earlier this week at a Senate hearing on the issue of sexual assault in the military.
At that hearing, Chambliss implied that sexual assault was caused by “the hormone level” of young men and women serving their country.
“Young folks coming into each of your services are anywhere from 17 to 22 to 23,” he said. “Gee, whiz, the hormone level created by nature sets in place the possibility for these types of things to occur.”
Turner quickly blasted the senator’s comments. “Sexual assault is committed by criminals, not hormones,” he told WHIO-TV Wednesday.
Turner said such comments are “random opinions.”
He and Rep. Niki Tsongas, D-Mass., along with Sens. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., and Susan Collins, R-Maine, have introduced a bill that would create a minimum sentence for those found guilty of sexual assault. The bill would also make it more difficult for military brass to overturn or change convictions for sexual assault.
Turner has worked on the issue of sexual assault in the military since Maria Lauterbach, a Vandalia native serving the U.S. Marines, was killed in December 2007 by the man who she had accused of raping her. Lauterbach was 8 months pregnant at the time of her death.
Spokesman for Chambliss said his comment was directed at the culture of the military and not intended to be an excuse for rape. Chambliss has supported several bills aimed at reducing sexual assault in the military.