Fort Benning drill sergeants have been suspended amid sexual misconduct allegations, the U.S. Army said in a statement Wednesday.
The suspensions were announced after a female trainee raised the allegations against a drill sergeant and further investigation revealed various other complaints of sexual misconduct involving trainees and drill sergeants at the Georgia military base, The New York Times reported.
The U.S Army said in its statement that that the safety and welfare of all soldiers was a priority.
"The drill sergeants have been suspended from drill sergeant duties, and will have no contact with trainees during the course of the investigation," the statement said.
Ben Garrett, a spokesman for Fort Benning, did not reveal the exact number of sergeants who had been suspended, according to the Times.
"There is no place for sexual harassment or sexual assault in our Army," he said.
All trainees involved were given access to counseling as well as legal and medical services
According to Stars and Stripes, these allegations come barely a year after female trainees were integrated into Fort Benning's training programs for combat positions, with the first group graduating in May this year.
A record number of sexual assault incidents were reported to the U.S. military in 2016, when 6,172 cases of sexual assault were reported by service members, up from 3,604 in 2012, NBC News reported earlier this year.
While state officials said the increase in reports reflected a sign of trust shown by members of the service to the military's support system, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand wondered whether this was considered progress.
"The truth is that the scourge of sexual assault in the military remains status quo," she said, according to Reuters.
A Pentagon report said 58 percent of victims of sexual assault experienced reprisals or retaliation for reporting it, the news service noted.
© 2022 Newsmax. All rights reserved.