Sexual Assault a Military Embarrassment

annapolis sex scandal

A couple of weeks ago, as interest in the fact that sexual assault in the military has become an increasing embarrassment, commanding officers in all branches were forced into action.

A serious and unforgivable problem had been virtually ignored by the military hierarchy for decades.  To many, it is the most important situation our country presently faces, and must be faced head on, with action taken against all those involved, regardless of rank.

USA Today reported Sunday that the Navy is investigating three midshipmen at Annapolis for sexual misconduct.  They are all members of the Academy’s football team.

“Naval Academy leadership is monitoring the progress of this investigation and evaluating the appropriate options for adjudication,” Naval Academy spokesman Cmdr. John Schofield said in a statement.

“It is completely inappropriate to make any other public comment on this investigation or any ongoing investigation as we risk compromising the military justice process.”

According to sources, one woman, a fellow officer candidate, was involved.  The source said that all four had been drinking.  The woman had a sexual encounter with one of the men who was her boyfriend, and the other two took advantage of the situation and had intercourse with her as well.

One of the men was a senior.  His graduation was put on hold until the investigation is complete.  The other two are juniors.

Officials at the Academy said that the woman initially reported the incident in February of 2012.  An investigation began immediately, lasting for four months.  It ended when she removed her complaint, and refused further cooperation with the investigators.

The woman renewed her complaint this past February, and the investigation is ongoing.  As of June, 2013, no charges have been filed.

In 2007, the Academy expelled Navy quarterback Lamar Owens, Jr. in a sexual assault case. Although he was acquitted of any sexual assault, he was found guilty of conduct unbecoming an officer.

An earlier Pentagon report released this year confirmed that formal complaints of sexual misconduct increased from 3,374 to 3,192 between 2011 and 2102.  Anonymous complaints increased from 19,000 to 26,000 during the same period.

Last Friday, in a speech to the class of 2013 at the U.S. Naval Academy, Obama urged the 1,047 graduates to “live with integrity” and help restore trust in the military.

“Those who commit sexual assault are not only committing a crime, they threaten the trust and discipline that make our military strong,” he said.

Congress is in an uproar over an apparent IRS focus on the tax exempt status of certain TEA Party members.  Really!  Is that even an important issue?  Is it an issue that can be easily repaired?  In case you’re unsure, the answers are ‘no’, and ‘yes’, respectively.

Congressmen are quick to give lip service to the value of those who serve in America’s armed forces.  But that’s all it is, lip service.  Women serve beside men in our military, enduring the same hardships and hazardous conditions.  But they are not given the same respect.

The United States has been a male dominated society for far too long.  More women are graduating college than men in the 21st century.  Women control more of the wealth in our nation.  And women are making the effort to go to the voting booths in greater numbers each and every election year.

Americans are changing their attitudes about many social issues.  Most of our citizens favor a fair and inclusive immigration policy.  The majority of Americans are un-opposed to same-sex marriage.  But more Americans favor the continuation of the status of women as second class citizens.

I repeat myself, but it’s time that women rule our country.  Men have failed for 237 years.

The military should be embarrassed by continued acts of sexual assault on women, mostly because they have been ignored, and considered of little importance for decades.

James Turnage

The Guardian Express

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