update Commands Protect Troops and Fail Families in Domestic Abuse Cases, Victims Say
By Patricia Kime
19 Sep 2019
For three years, Kate Ranta said she endured escalating abuse at the hands of her husband, Air Force Maj. Thomas Maffei.
The alleged violence began when the couple lived in military housing at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, and, she said, became worse after they moved to Florida, where Maffei planned to retire. One day after a fight, she said, Maffei grabbed a gun and the couple's two-year-old and left home, only to return a short time later to convince the police that he was a war veteran who had been injured in an IED blast in Iraq.
It was a lie, Ranta says. Maffei hadn't seen combat and was, in fact, still on active duty, having forged moving orders and leaving his unit in the Washington, D.C., area without retiring. After the incident, she reported him to his command, launching a lengthy Air Force Office of Special Investigations case, which concluded that he should face a court-martial.
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Is military domestic violence a ‘forgotten crisis’?
By: Leo Shane III
September 18, 2019
Wednesday’s hearing included testimony from a series of abuse victims who said their problems were exacerbated by military leadership, instead of receiving help and support.
Members from Fleet and Family Support Center promote the resources they offer to help with managing stress on Nov. 20, 2018, at Portsmouth, Va. (Petty Officer 1st Class Laura Myers/Navy)House lawmakers are blasting defense officials for allowing domestic abuse to become “a forgotten crisis” in the military, saying not enough has been done to protect victims, punish attackers or even track the issue.
Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., chairwoman of House Armed Services Committee’s personnel panel, said she is looking at possible legislative changes on the topic, to include mandating a higher level of command review for any criminal abuse and required reports on how cases have been handled.
“Military spouses are often isolated, living far from friends or family and unfamiliar with local resources,” she said at a hearing on the topic Wednesday, “It’s unfortunately easy to see how these conditions can make domestic violence possible, more dangerous, and persistent.
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