Just as with the general public, military personnel who abuse their children should be held accountable. Just because someone wears a uniform in the armed forces, they should not be treated any differently but need to be subjected to garnishment of their pay like everyone else.
On March 26, 2003, a bill was introduced in Congress (H.R. 1444) to amend Title 10, United States Code, to provide for garnishment of military retired pay to satisfy a judgment against a retired member of the uniformed services for physically, sexually, or emotionally abusing a child. It stated:
GARNISHMENT AUTHORITY – Section 1408 of Title 10, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following subsection:
- Any payment of retired pay that would otherwise be made to a member shall be paid (in whole or part) by the Secretary to another person if and to the extent expressly provided for in the terms of a child abuse garnishment order.
- A judgment rendered for physically, sexually, or emotionally abusing a child is any legal claim perfected through a final enforceable judgment, which claim is based in whole or in part upon the physical, sexual, or emotional abuse of an individual under 18 years of age, whether or not that abuse is accompanied by other actionable wrongdoing, such as sexual exploitation or gross negligence.
I would have loved to have had my father’s Lieutenant Commander retirement check garnisheed for the 21 years of abuse I suffered while under his control, but that did not happen. Even though my abuse was reported to the Department of the Navy in 1987, they said there was nothing that could be done.
As far as I know, this bill (H.R. 1444) was referred to Committee in the House of Representatives, and nothing further happened. Once again, an opportunity to make pedophiles pay for their criminal behavior was shelved.
I personally know of a case where a Navy enlisted man was convicted in court of two felonies or oral copulation with a minor (his daughter) and was not kicked out of the Navy. Hopefully, one of these days, the acts of child molesters, even those in the Armed Forces, will be punished for the horrible crimes they commit. But it takes Representatives and Senators in Congress to pass laws like the one mentioned above. Unfortunately, I don’t see that happening anytime soon.