Army sexual assault prevention coordinator accused of ‘abusive sexual contact’
(CNN) — The Army announced Tuesday that a sergeant first class assigned to an assault prevention program at Fort Hood, Texas, is under investigation for sexual assault.
The soldier, who was not named in an Army statement, has been suspended from all duties.
Specifically, the soldier is under investigation for “pandering, abusive sexual contact, assault and maltreatment of subordinates,” the statement said. Special agents from the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command are conducting the probe.
No charges have been filed.
“This is so contrary to everything upon which the Army was built,” Secretary of the Army John McHugh said during testimony before the House Appropriations Committee Defense subcommittee, according to the statement. “To see this kind of activity happening in our ranks is really heart-wrenching and sickening.”
McHugh spoke generally about sex abuse crimes in the military.
“As I said to our new Brigadier General Corps when I spoke to them about two weeks ago, ‘You can do everything from this point forward in your military career perfectly, but if you fail on this, you have failed the Army’,” he reportedly said.
The solider was assigned as a Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention program coordinator when the allegations surfaced.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel was made aware of the case earlier Tuesday.
He met with McHugh and directed him to ensure that “all of those who might be involved are dealt with appropriately,” according to Pentagon spokesman George Little.
“To address the broader concerns that have arisen out of these allegations and other recent events, Secretary Hagel is directing all the services to retrain, recredential, and rescreen all sexual assault prevention and response personnel and military recruiters,” he said.
“Sexual assault is a crime and will be treated as such.”
The allegations of abuse come soon after an Air Force officer was charged with sexual battery stemming from an incident in Northern Virginia.
Lt. Col. Jeffrey Krusinski, a 1994 graduate of the Air Force Academy who served tours in both Iraq and Afghanistan, was arrested this month and accused of grabbing a woman’s buttocks and breasts in a parking lot in Arlington County not far from the Pentagon.
He had been in charge of a military unit aimed at preventing sexual assault.
Krusinski, who has since been removed from that position, made an initial court appearance last week. He did not enter a plea.
“To say this report is disturbing would be a gross understatement. For the second time in a week, we are seeing someone who is supposed to be preventing sexual assault being investigated for committing that very act,” said U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-New York.
“We have the best and the brightest serving in our military. We have the greatest military in the world. And we ask everything of them. We ask them to even die for their country. We should not be allowing them to be subject to sexual assault and rape.”
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