Helping military victims of sexual abuse - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Helping military victims of sexual abuse


US Representative Bruce Braley (D-Iowa) visited Dubuque's YMCA Monday morning to speak about the bill he's sponsoring called the Holley Lynn James Act.

James was a Second Lieutenant Army nurse from Dubuque, when, in 2008, her husband, former Marine Corporal John Wimunc, murdered her. He admitted to killing his wife and burning her body in a wooded area near Camp LeJeune in North Carolina.

The Department of Defense's 2010 Report on Sexual Assault in the Military listed more than 3,000 instances of sexual assault. Those are just the reported instances.

Since his daughter's death, Jesse James has been vocal about how to recognize the signs of an abusive relationship. He said the proposed legislation would help victims in the armed forces.

"Because of the dealings that we had before Holley got killed, I personally know that this will help young women, especially, in the military," James said.

The act would see that any report of sexual assault or domestic violence in the military would be handled with independent oversight by the Inspector General's office.

"It's that unbiased, you call the IG office, they send someone from the IG office down that isn't connected to us in any way, they have an investigative authority," James said.

Braley is sponsoring the bill and will file it this week.

"Right now, there are more protections for the perpetrator than there are for the victims, both of whom are serving in uniform," he said. "What this does is take it away and makes sure there's an independent investigation and prosecution of these cases."

Part of the act includes establishing a military sexual predator database and insuring the victims are provided legal counsel.

Jesse James works at the University of Dubuque, and after his daughter's death, he started speaking with students about the signs and dangers of sexual and domestic violence.

Anybody suffering from an abusive or controlling relationship can call the Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE(7233).

John Wimunc is spending his life in prison without parole. That was the plea bargain reached September of 2010, instead of receiving the death penalty.

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