McCaskill Holds Up Air Force Promotion Over Sexual Assault Case

Apr 26, 2013

Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill has halted the nomination of an Air Force lieutenant general who's been tapped to be the vice chairman of U.S. Space Command.

McCaskill said in a statement on Thursday that she wants more information about Lt. Gen. Susan Helms' decision last year to overturn a jury conviction in a sexual assault trial. 

In that case, according to the Air Force Times, a captain at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California was convicted in November 2011  of sexually assaulting a lieutenant, and sentenced to 60 days confinement and a dismissal from the service. Four months later, Helms overturned the conviction.

A spokeswoman for Space Command told the Air Force Times that Helms "could not be satisfied the beyond-a-reasonable-doubt burden of proof had been met and therefore declined to approve the conviction."

McCaskill,  a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and has been outspoken about the military's handling of cases of sexual assault. Her hold keeps the Senate from approving Helms' promotion.

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