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    Army’s New Special Prosecutors Hit Ground Running with Case Netting 20-Year Sentence for Rape, Assault

    Army's New Special Prosecutors Hit Ground Running with Case Netting 20-Year Sentence for Rape, Assault

    In a first for the , a specialized legal team is prosecuting the service's most egregious criminal cases, including a soldier based in Okinawa, , who was convicted of the rape and sexual assault of two victims in California and South Korea earlier this month.

    Sgt. Antonio Robert Aden, 27, was sentenced to 20 years in prison for the rapes and assaults — a complex international legal trial concluding with a stiff sentence. He was also handed a dishonorable discharge and a reduction in rank to private.

    The case against Aden was prosecuted by the service's Special Trial Counsel, newly established in December — a team of independent prosecutors created by Congress tasked with handling assault, sexual assault, kidnapping, domestic violence, stalking, child pornography and harassment criminal cases in the Army. The team is already involved in 600 cases, and the caseload is expected to pile up.

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    The landmark move to ensure prosecutors are independent of the chain of command was among the most seismic changes to the justice system in a generation. That change had faced heavy resistance by Pentagon leaders and some lawmakers on Capitol Hill for decades, but was finally mandated by a law spearheaded by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., and Rep. Jackie Speier, a California Democrat who retired from Congress last year.

    The new…

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