Term of Award

Summer 2023

Degree Name

Master of Science, Criminal Justice and Criminology

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology

Committee Chair

Cassandra Dodge

Committee Member 1

Adam Bossler

Committee Member 2

Stacie St. Louis


By evaluating the case recommendations following a preliminary hearing from military sexual assault cases from fiscal years 2016-2018, this study aims to assess whether or not extralegal factors are influencing decisions of case recommendations of assigned convening authorities. Using secondary data from the Department of Defense’s annual reports on sexual assault in the United States military (n=5,171), this study aims to answer the following questions: Do extralegal factors contribute to convening authorities’ recommendations following Article 32 hearings? If so, what extralegal factors contribute to convening authority's decision on non-judicial hearing recommendations? The results of the following analyses identified several extralegal variables that significantly impacted Article 32 case recommendations, including victim and offender characteristics, such as branch of service, pay grade, and gender. By recognizing and resolving any extralegal bias factors, the military can implement even more changes to protect the victims of such crimes. Each factor evaluated showed bias in one, some, or all case recommendations.

Research Data and Supplementary Material