Swift Pleads Guilty to AWOL Charges After Sexual Abuse
Specialist Suzanne Swift has agreed to plead guilty to charges of being away without leave after refusing an assignment to return to Iraq because she says she was sexually harassed and abused by other officers. The army brought charges against Swift in September after she had been away for about five months, the Associated Press reports.
Under the agreement reached with the US military last week, Swift will face a maximum punishment that is less severe than the 12 months confinement and bad-conduct discharge she would have received had she not pleaded guilty. Now, her maximum punishment would be a reduction in rank, forfeiture of two-thirds of her salary for one month, and 30 days in confinement, AP reports. [UPDATE: On Wednesday, December 13, the army sentenced Swift to 30 days confinement and demoted her from specialist to private. She is still eligible to receive an honorable discharge at the end of her service.] She will also be compelled to finish her service in the military, serving until January 2009. Swift's mother, Sara Rich, told Democracy Now's Amy Goodman, "The alternative [to accepting the guilty plea] was, she�d go to trial, be re-victimized and re-traumatized and stand up to a year in prison."
Swift had reported sexual abuse and harassment by three noncommissioned officers during her time in the military; two of these reported incidents occurred while Swift was stationed in Iraq.
According to Democracy Now, Swift's allegations went unaddressed initially. Only one claim has been substantiated, AP reports.
7/27/2015 Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell Blocked Efforts to Defund Planned Parenthood - An attempt in the Senate to defund Planned Parenthood by Mike Lee (R-UT) was blocked this weekend by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). Lee tried to attach the elimination of federal funds for Planned Parenthood to a vote for highway legislation, a move which was rejected by McConnell as out of order.
Republican legislators have redoubled their efforts to block funding for Planned Parenthood since the release of two heavily edited clandestine videos of different PPFA employees taken without their knowledge. . . .
7/24/2015 Katherine Spillar Urges Cleveland to Dramatically Increase Hiring of Women Police to Mitigate Police Violence - In a well-received speech at the City Club of Cleveland today, Katherine Spillar, Executive Director of the Feminist Majority Foundation urged Cleveland city officials to dramatically increase the hiring of women police officers as a way to decrease police brutality incidents.
Following a number of high profile police killings in Cleveland of African Americans, and an eight-month investigation by the US Attorney's office of the Northern District of Ohio, the City of Cleveland has now entered into a Consent Decree that requires numerous reforms in how the city oversees and investigates police operations, including training in use of force.
"Among the most important reforms mandated by the consent decree - and the most easily overlooked - are the changes the Cleveland Division of Police must make in its recruitment and hiring practices,
said Spillar. . . .