Today, Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Subcommittee Ranking Member Salud Carbajal (CA-24) joined Representatives Joe Courtney (D-CT-02), Trent Kelly (R-MS-01), Rick Larsen (D-WA-02), and Nanette Diaz Barragán (D-CA-44) to introduce the bipartisan Coast Guard Academy Safe-to-Report Parity Act, legislation to apply protections to Coast Guard Academy cadets when reporting incidents of sexual assault.
“As a veteran and the top Democrat on the House subcommittee overseeing the U.S. Coast Guard, I know how important it is for our Coasties to have the same rights and protections against sexual misconduct as other members of our military,” said Rep. Carbajal. “Through our work on the Armed Services Committee, my colleagues and I have already taken steps to improve response to sexual assault at our other service academies. This bill is simple and straightforward, bringing all military service academies under the same umbrella of safety and accountability to protect the next generation of servicemembers.”
The Fiscal Year 2021 National Defense Authorization Act required the Department of Defense to implement Safe-to-Report Policy for collateral misconduct involving a midshipman or cadet who is the victim of an alleged sexual assault at Department of Defense Military Academies, which does not include the Coast Guard Academies.
Today’s legislation ensures that the Coast Guard Academy implements identical policy to prevent cadets from punishment for minor offenses under the Uniform Code of Military Justice when reporting an incident of sexual assault. Minor offenses include underage drinking and violating curfew, for example.
“While the Coast Guard has taken many steps to care for victims of sexual assault, this bipartisan legislation prevents cadets from receiving punishment for minor misconduct when reporting sexual assault and harassment. The Department of Defense swiftly implemented this policy change for the other academies after Congress acted in 2021, and now, we must extend these protections to our Coast Guard Academy cadets, too.” said Rep. Joe Courtney. “This is one step in the process to care for our cadets as I continue to engage with Coast Guard leadership on the path forward following its failure to disclose the investigation into its history of sexual assault and harassment at the Coast Guard Academy.”
As Chair of the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Subcommittee in the 117th Congress, Rep. Carbajal helped get the Safer Seas Act signed into law in 2022. This legislation implements new protections and requirements to combat sexual assault and harassment in the U.S. Coast Guard and in the maritime industry.