Stirling applauds introduction of bill to aid sexual assault survivors seeking justice

March 05, 2020


The founder of a local military nonprofit organization is praising the introduction of a bill in the California state senate that will aid military sexual assault survivors seeking justice.

Dr. Dwight Stirling, CEO of the Center for Law and Military Policy, said the bill, introduced by Senator Jerry Hill and co-sponsored by Sen. Tom Umberg will empower California military service survivors of sexual assault to seek justice in a civil court.

Stirling, a former military prosecutor who still serves in the reserves, said he supports SB 1274 as a means of easing restrictions imposed by the Feres doctrine.

In 2019, Stirling was instrumental in testimony before the U.S. House Armed Services Committee in supporting a change to federal military procedure regarding a Supreme Court decision nearly 70 years ago called the Feres Doctrine that has in many cases prevented active duty service members from seeking justice in civilian courts.

Reforming Feres “is our signature issue,” he said.

Moreover, he said “it is vitally important that we empower survivors of military sexual assault to hold their assailants to account in civil court,” said Stirling, a longtime prosecutor for the California National Guard.

“Rapists in uniform have been able to hide behind the chain of command for far too long. The only way to end the epidemic is to allow survivors to take control of the process by seeking damages against their perpetrators in an independent court of law,” he said.