WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D-San Francisco/San Mateo) has released the following statement on the Lt. Col. James Wilkerson story about sexual abuse in the military and chain of command.

“Revelations today about Lt. Col. James Wilkerson’s conduct and character further proves that real justice and military justice are two different concepts. Wilkerson was previously accused of sexual assault, then convicted 5-0 by his peers in a court-martial, only to be granted clemency by a 3-star general inside the chain of command. Why? Because the general viewed Wilkerson as a family man. Today, the Air Force revealed that Wilkerson had an extramarital affair and fathered a child from that affair. Rug, you have been swept under.

“The military's flawed system of justice leaves legal decisions to commanders with no legal training. The military is going through its own 12-step program and they can’t pass the acceptance phase. They are stuck in denial. They still think they can fix things by themselves. They shrug it off, as they have for two and a half decades. But the chain of command is the problem. It defies logic, or even intellectual honesty. A fallen house doesn’t magically rebuild itself.

“I call on the Air Force to convene an Involuntary Discharge Board in this horrible miscarriage of justice. For Wilkerson’s gross misconduct, the Secretary of Air Force should also do a grade determination and demote Wilkerson to his rank at the time of his first offense.”