Articles 120 and 125
The UCMJ’s Articles 120 and 125 now have mandatory minimum punishments: dishonorable discharge for enlisted service members and dismissal for officers, Kiel said. Article 120 deals with rape and sexual assault upon adults or children and other sex crimes, and Article 125 deals with forcible sodomy. In addition, the accused now must appear before a general court-martial with no opportunity to be tried at a summary or special court-martial, Kiel said.
A summary court-martial is for relatively minor misconduct, and a special court-martial is for an intermediate-level offense.
Furthermore, Congress highly encouraged the services not to dispose of sexual assault cases with adverse administrative action or an Article 15, which involves nonjudicial punishment usually reserved for minor disciplinary offenses, Kiel said.
Rather, Kiel said, Congress desires those cases to be tried at a general court-martial and has mandated that all sexual assault and rape cases be tried only by general court-martial.
Prior to the fiscal 2014 National Defense Authorization Act, there was a five-year statute of limitations on rape and sexual assault on adults and children under Article 120 cases. Now, there’s no statute of limitations, he said.
Congress repealed the offense of consensual sodomy under Article 125 in keeping with previous Supreme Court precedent, Kiel said, and also barred anyone who has been convicted of rape, sexual assault, incest or forcible sodomy under state or federal law from enlisting or being commissioned into military service.