The U.S. Army sexual-assault prevention coordinator under investigation for “abusive sexual contact” got a soldier to prostitute herself with another military service member, according to a congressional aide.
After getting the private first class to engage in prostitution, the sergeant first class based at Fort Hood, Texas, tried to coax another woman in the military to do the same, according to the aide who was familiar with the matter and asked not to be identified because he wasn’t authorized to speak with the media. The second woman resisted and lodged a complaint a month ago, according to the aide.
The soldier, who worked on sexual-assault prevention for a battalion of the Army’s III Corps, was suspended from all duties after the allegations surfaced, and an investigation is under way, the Army announced yesterday. Pentagon spokeswoman Cynthia Smith didn’t immediately respond today to an e-mail concerning details of the allegations.
The case is the second in two weeks in which someone in the military assigned to combat sexual assaults in the ranks has been accused of sexual misconduct. A lieutenant colonel who leads the Air Force’s sexual-assault prevention office faces criminal charges on allegations that he groped a woman he didn’t know in a parking lot not far from the Pentagon.
Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri asked today in a statement whether the military has “folks filling these jobs who aren’t succeeding elsewhere.” She said the allegations “call for a review and possible changes to personnel and the training they receive.”
McCaskill and Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, both Democrats, introduced legislation today that would force the Pentagon to establish new criteria for selecting military personnel eligible to become sexual-assault prevention coordinators.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel responded to the Fort Hood case by ordering the military services to retrain all sexual- assault prevention personnel and military recruiters, Pentagon spokesman George Little said yesterday in an e-mailed statement.
“I cannot convey strongly enough his frustration, anger, and disappointment over these troubling allegations and the breakdown in discipline and standards they imply,” Little said of Hagel’s reaction.
The Army sergeant first class, who wasn’t identified by the Pentagon, is being investigated by special agents from the Army Criminal Investigation Command for “pandering, abusive sexual contact, assault and maltreatment of subordinates,” the Defense Department said in a statement yesterday.
Under the U.S.’s Uniform Code of Military Justice, pandering refers to compelling, inducing, enticing or procuring acts of prostitution.
The soldier had been assigned as a prevention coordinator for a battalion of the Army’s III Corps, according to the Pentagon.
“These latest allegations of criminal behavior by yet another sexual-assault prevention and response coordinator are appalling and show the need for fundamental reforms,” Nancy Parrish, president of Protect Our Defenders, a victims’ support group, said in a statement. “The Pentagon is responsible for failing to effectively govern its personnel.”
In the case surfacing earlier this month, the head of the Air Force’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response branch was arrested in Arlington, Virginia, on a sexual-assault charge.
Lieutenant Colonel Jeffrey Krusinski “approached a female victim in a parking lot and grabbed her breasts and buttocks” on May 5, according to an Arlington County police report. Krusinski, 41, didn’t enter a plea at his May 9 arraignment, at which his trial was set for July 18.
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