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Soldier in Charge of Sexual Assault Prevention Under Investigation for 'Abusive Sexual Contact'

| by Sarah Fruchtnicht
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For the second time in a month, a member of the military in charge of preventing sexual assault is being investigated for “abusive sexual contact” as well as other misconduct.

The Texas soldier was suspended from duties while the Army Criminal Investigation Command investigates.

It was announced last week that an Air Force officer who headed a sexual assault prevention office was arrested for allegedly groping a woman in a parking lot. According to the police report, Air Force Lt. Col. Jeffrey Krusinski was intoxicated when he grabbed a woman’s breast and buttocks.

Lawmakers are telling Defense Secretary Hagel to be tougher on sexual misconduct in the armed services.

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“This is sickening. Twice now, in a matter of as many weeks, we’ve seen the very people charged with protecting victims of sexual assault being charged as perpetrators,” said Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash. “It’s an astonishing reminder that the Pentagon has both a major problem on its hands and a tremendous amount of work to do to assure victims — who already only report a small fraction of sexual assaults — that they are changing the culture around these heinous crimes.

“Secretary Hagel needs to act swiftly to re-examine sexual assault services across the department to ensure that these disturbing betrayals of trust are ended,” Murray said.

In a statement issued Wednesday Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said the panel will be considering measures to end rampant sexual abuse in the military.

“Tragically, the depth of the sexual assault problem in our military was already overwhelmingly clear before this latest highly disturbing report,” Levin said.

A spokesman for Hagel, George Little, said the Defense Secretary was angry and disappointed at “these troubling allegations and the breakdown in discipline and standards they imply.” He said Hagel ordered Army Secretary John McHugh to “fully investigate this matter rapidly, to discover the extent of these allegations and to ensure that all of those who might be involved are dealt with appropriately.”

The Texas soldier, who was not identified, was an equal opportunity adviser and coordinator of a sexual-harassment-assault prevention program at Fort Hood, the Army’s 3rd Corps headquarters. No charges have been filed, the Army said in a statement.

“To protect the integrity of the investigative process and the rights of all persons involved, no more information will be released at this time,” the Army said.

The sexual assault epidemic in the military affected approximately 26,000 soldiers in 2012. Fewer than 3,400 victims reported the incidents, while 800 did not file formal complaints. 

Sources: Washington Post, NY Daily News