As the U.S. military attempts to come to grips with the enormous problem of sexual assault that has come to light recently, more troubling developments emerged on Tuesday. On Tuesday it was reported that an Army service member who worked in a sexual assault prevention program was facing an accusation of a sexual crime.
The ongoing revelations in the U.S. military scandal have reach levels were lawmakers have taken notice. The newest revelation comes in wake of previous sexual assault allegations and a U.S. military desperately trying to stamp out what increasingly appears to be a widespread epidemic of sexual assault across all branches.
The latest case involves an Army Sergeant 1st Class at a base in Fort Hood, Texas. He was an equal opportunity advisor and coordinator in the Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention (SHARP) program in the Army’s 3rd Corps headquarters. The allegedly incident or incidents are reported to involve pandering, abusive sexual contact, assault, and maltreatment of subordinates.
The Army acquisition comes after a similar case emerged earlier in May. Back then Jeffery Krusinski, 41, was arrested for an alleged sexual assault. Krusinski was chief of the Air Force SHARP program. His trial date has been set for July 18th.
An estimated 19,000 members of the armed services were victims of some form of sexual assault in 2011 according to a Department of Defense report on the problem. Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash.) expressed disgust over the recent arrests, saying, "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. 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.
Amid the mounting scope of the problem and criticism from Congress, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel gave a directive that the armed service would immediately "re-train, re-credential, and re-screen" all sexual assault prevention and response personal along with all military recruiters.
The order for military recruiters comes amid reports that military recruiters have committing sex crimes against civilians. In a particular notorious case, a Marine Corps recruiter was convicted of first-degree sexual assault in the rape of a 23-year-old civilian but not sentenced to prison. The outcome left local law enforcement officials furious. The DoD does not have an accurate scope of the problem, as it does not keep figures on sex crimes that recruiters are accused of.
The sexual assault epidemic shows no sign of slowing down unless the Department of Defense takes drastic action. Time will tell if Secretary Hagel can stamp out this horrific problem or if it is too large for the U.S. military to handle alone.