For the second time in a week, a military official who is in charge of sexual assault prevention has been investigated for sex crimes, further damaging the credibility of military officials following the Lackland sex with recruits scandal and the reinstatement of a pilot convicted of sexual assault, 1200 WOAI news reports.
Pentagon officials say the Sergeant First Class, whose name was not released, is accused of pandering, abusive sexual contact, and assault. He headed the Sexual Harassment-Assault Prevention Program at the U.S. Army’s III Corps based at Ft. Hood.
Last week the Air Force Lieutenant Colonel who has responsibility for fighting sexual assault throughout that branch of the military was arrested after allegedly groping a woman in a northern Virginia parking lot.
“The latest allegations of criminal behavior by yet another sexual assault prevention and response coordinator are appalling,” said Nancy Parrish, the head of the activist group Protect Our Defenders. “The Pentagon is responsible for failing to effectively govern its personnel. The problems are so long standing and pervasive that, at a minimum, it constitutes gross negligence on the part of the leadership and actually reflects, albeit informal, countenancing of a culture of violent abuse.
Anu Bhagwati, Executive Director of the Service Women’s Action Network, echoed Parrish’s comments.
“It is abundantly clear that the miltiary cannot adequately handle its sexual violence crisis from within,” she said. “It is a crying shame that senior enlisted leaders and senior officers who have been tasked to prevent and respond to sexual assault and sexual harassment are themselves predators.”
Several groups say this is the final proof that the Uniform Code of Military Justice is inadequate toward dealing with sex crimes against military members.
Several members of Congress have introduced legislation to strip the military and base and post commanders with the responsibility for investigating and prosecuting sex related crimes, instead creating a special civilian office to do that job.
“We can start by ensuring that military crimes are no longer handled by commanding officers, but rather by impartial attorneys and judges,” Bhagwati said.