It has been announced today that a senior-ranking Army Sergeant who works as a watchdog to handle sex assault cases at Fort Hood, Texas, is being investigated for several sex crimes and stands accused of sexual assault and ties to prostitution.
United Press International has reported that the Army has withheld the name of Sergeant First Class, because no formal charges have been filed as yet. But they have confirmed that the Sergeant is under investigation for accusations related to prostitution,
A Staff member on Capitol Hill told USA Today that the senior-level sergeant was facing investigation for forcing a lower-ranked solider into prostitution, as well as an accusation of sexually abusing two other lower ranking individuals. Two unnamed Pentagon officials confirmed to USA Today that the sergeant was accused of running a prostitution ring.
Pentagon officials also revealed, via UPI, that the sergeant is being investigated by the Army Criminal Investigation Command for “abusive sexual contact,” The sergeant also faces suspicions of mistreating subordinates and assault.
Pending formal charges being brought against the individual, the sergeant been taken off duties as an “equal opportunity adviser,” and sexual harassment and assault prevention officer, while the investigation continues, UPI reported.
The scandal comes at a time when U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel ordered that all branches of the military need to “retrain, recredential and rescreen” military recruiters and sexual-assault prevention officials.
Another interesting aspect of this most recent case of sexual abuse in the United States military, is the curious lack of gender. There are no reports as to whether the Sergeant is male or female. Although one article did refer to the accused as “he.” This brings up all kinds of questions as to whether this is to further protect the individual who is being investigated or if it is the Army attempting to prevent state or federal civilian law agencies getting involved.
The most recent case of military sex abuse by an individual in charge of a sex abuse prevention facility was acted upon by civilian authorities, much to the dismay of the military. Each branch of the US armed forces have their own punitive measures for crimes committed by service personel that is administered “in-house.”
The sergeant who stands accused had been assigned as an equal opportunity advisor and coordinator of a sexual harassment-assault prevention program at Ft. Hood when the allegation arose.
This back-to-back Army and Air Force sexual abuse issue highlights a problem that is drawing increased scrutiny in Congress and expressions of frustration from top Pentagon leaders.
Pentagon spokesman George Little said that Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel was angry and disappointed over “these troubling allegations and the breakdown in discipline and standards they imply.”
Little also said that Defence Secretary Hagel has ordered Army Secretary John M. 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 Pentagon continues to struggle with what it calls a “growing epidemic of sexual assaults in the military.” In a report last week, the Defense Department estimated that 26,000 military members had been sexually assaulted in unreported incidents last year alone; based on recent survey results.
Fewer than 3,400 victims of sexual assault in the military reported the incidents, and nearly 800 sought help but declined to file formal complaints against their attackers.
By Michael Smith