'Brandon Act' looks to help active duty service members report bullying without retaliation

A Peoria family hopes their son’s suicide in the Navy leads to some good for all men and women in uniform.

A bill now in Congress, the Brandon Act, looks to give service members more options for mental health.

Brandon Caserta wanted nothing more than to be a Navy SEAL, but unfortunately, a broken leg derailed his dream, and following a transfer in the Navy, things got much worse.

“He was bullied and hazed from the moment he got in that command. I think he was targeted because he did not make it through the SEAL program," said his mother Teri Caserta.

He took his own life in 2018 when he threw himself into the tail rotor of a helicopter. His parents live in Peoria and made it a mission to not let his death be in vain.

“He left us a letter and it was detailed and he asked us to get justice for him, and we will get justice for him," said his father Patrick Caserta.

Caserta’s family said his chain of command ignored Brandon's pleas for help.

This is where the Brandon Act comes in. It was introduced by Massachusetts Congressman Seth Moulton.

“It provides a way for service members to report any sort of hazing or abuse outside the chain of command if they need to if they fear any sort of retaliation from telling their commanders about what’s going on," Moulton explained.

While there are still many hurdles to clear, the Caserta family hopes Brandon's legacy will help those in the military who may need it most.

“Active duty that need help will get the help they need with no retaliation. It could be anything, hazing bullying, you name it, it covers it," his father explained.