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Evaluation of Military Criminal Investigative Organizations' Adult Sexual Assault Investigations DODIG-2017-054

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Objective

We evaluated 378 Military Criminal Investigative Organizations’ (MCIO) adult sexual assault investigations opened on or after January 1, 2014, and completed on or before December 31, 2015, to determine whether the MCIOs completed investigations as required by DoD, Military Service, and MCIO guidance. This evaluation is the third in a series of recurring evaluations of the MCIOs’ closed adult sexual assault investigations.

Findings
We found that only 2 of the 378 cases (0.5 percent) we reviewed had significant deficiencies that we believed likely adversely impacted the outcome of the investigations. We returned those two cases for further investigative work. The deficiencies related to serological and trace evidence that were not collected or pursued; and witness interviews that were not thorough or not completed.
We compared these results to our previous two evaluations, conducted in 2015 (Report No. DODIG-2015-094) and 2013 (Report No. DODIG-2013-091). In 2015 we returned 4 of 536 (0.7 percent) cases for significant deficiencies and in 2013 we returned 56 of 501 cases (11.2 percent) for significant deficiencies.
We also evaluated cases for minor deficiencies, which we considered as investigative deficiencies that likely did not affect the outcome of the investigation. Examples of those kind of minor deficiencies are delays in completing certain logical investigative steps and not photographing or sketching crime scenes. We found this year that 15 of the 378 cases (4.0 percent) had only minor deficiencies. In 2015, we found 41 of the 536 cases (7.6 percent) had only minor deficiencies, and in 2013, we found that 19 of the 501 cases (3.8 percent) had only minor deficiencies.
We also reviewed cases for administrative deficiencies, which we considered as deficiencies that did not likely affect either the investigative process or the outcome of the investigation. Examples of those kinds of administrative deficiencies are failing to brief a victim about the status of the investigation and not issuing a DD Form 2701, “Initial Information for Victims and Witnesses of Crime.” We found that 156 out of the 378 cases (41.3 percent) had only administrative deficiencies. In 2015, we found 129 of the 536 cases (24.1 percent) had only administrative deficiencies, and in 2013, we found that 70 of the 501 cases (14.0 percent) had only administrative deficiencies. During this evaluation, we found supervisory case review deficiencies in 94 of the 378 cases (24.9 percent) and subject release deficiencies in 39 of the 378 cases (10.3 percent). In 2015, we found supervisory review deficiencies in 6 of the 536 cases (1.1 percent) and subject release deficiencies in 10 of the 536 cases (1.9 percent). In 2013, we found subject release deficiencies in 187 of the 501 cases (37.3 percent) and supervisory review deficiencies in 213 of the 501 cases (42.5 percent).
Of the 378 cases we reviewed, 161 (42.6 percent) had no deficiencies. In 2015, we found 318 of the 536 cases (59.3 percent) had no deficiencies, and in 2013, we found that 83 of the 501 cases (16.6 percent) had no deficiencies.
We also reviewed the implementation of recommended actions from previous reports related to minor and administrative deficiencies. Specifically, in Report DODIG-2015-094, we recommended improvements and we also reviewed the implementation of recommended actions from previous reports related to minor and administrative deficiencies. Specifically, in Report DODIG-2015-094, we recommended improvements to crime scene documentation and processing and evidence processing, the issuance of the DD Form 2701, “Initial Information for Victims and Witnesses of Crime,” and notifications to Sexual Assault Response Coordinators (SARCs). We found that the MCIOs’ performance improved in crime scene documentation and processing and evidence processing. Additionally, we found that both the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command (USACIDC) and the Air Force Office of Special Investigations (AFOSI) improved in their issuance of the DD Form 2701. Also, USACIDC significantly improved its notifications to SARCs, while AFOSI notifications remained the same.
Overall, the number of cases with significant and minor deficiencies remained low, although the percentage of cases with administrative deficiencies increased.
Recommendations
•             We recommend that the Commander, USACIDC, and Commander, AFOSI, implement measures to improve compliance with supervisory case review requirements.
•             We recommend that the Director, Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS), and Commander, AFOSI, implement measures to improve compliance with subject processing requirements.
Management Comments and Our Response
The Commander, USACIDC, Executive Assistant Director, NCIS, and the Vice Commander, AFOSI, provided management comments to our draft report.
The Commander, USACIDC, did not directly respond to our recommendation, but offered an alternative. The Commander’s intention to complete an internal study to determine the continued necessity of his internal policy requirement is within the scope of his authority. According to the Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations, Headquarters, USACIDC, the internal study would be completed by July 12, 2017. We request that the Commander, USACIDC, provide additional comments to this report concerning the status of the Group level case review requirement while the internal study is underway. In addition, we request the results of USACIDC’s internal study upon its completion.
The Executive Assistant Director, NCIS, agreed with comment to our recommendation to implement measures to improve compliance with subject processing requirements. NCIS is adding documentation of a subject's release to its “Standardized Case Review Sheet,” thus making it an inspection item for the first-line supervisor. NCIS completed the draft form on February 3, 2017, and expects to complete the executive review and final approval for dissemination to the field no later than February 17, 2017. We request NCIS provide a copy of the updated form upon completion. No further comments are required.
The Vice Commander, AFOSI, partially agreed with comment to our recommendation to implement measures to improve compliance with supervisory case review requirements. In response to our recommendation AFOSI specifically addressed our recommendation by reemphasizing the requirement of documenting case reviews during AFOSI’s senior leader conference on January 24, 2017. In addition, the Vice Commander, AFOSI, stated, “the requirement to conduct and document supervisory case reviews is an AFOSI requirement, not a DoD requirement. While DOD policy emphasizes the need for MCIOs to conduct thorough investigations, execution oversight and investigation quality control are the responsibility of the AFOSI Commander.” We agree with the Vice Commander, AFOSI, that the supervisory case review is not a DoD requirement. However, we assessed AFOSI using its own procedures and internal controls concerning the conduct and documentation of supervisory case reviews and our review identified deficiencies related to those controls.

The Vice Commander, AFOSI, agreed with comment to our recommendation to implement measures to improve compliance with subject processing requirements. AFOSI modified its policy in August 2016, to comply with Air Force Instruction 90-505, “Suicide Prevention Program.” Since then, subjects may only be released to their commander or first sergeant and such release must be documented in the case file. No further comments are required.

This report is a result of Project No. 2016C003.