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Reported violent sex crimes up in military

July 9, 2012 at 8:55 PM   |   Comments

WASHINGTON, July 9 (UPI) -- Despite a Defense Department crackdown, 20,000 violent sex crimes were committed in the U.S. military last year, statistics show.

The military services had increased investigations and prosecutions, strengthened victim-advocacy efforts and ordered prevention training throughout the ranks after then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld ordered a review in 2004 of how the military handled sex crimes, The Oklahoman of Oklahoma City reported.

The review followed female soldiers' reports of being assaulted by fellow soldiers while serving in Iraq and Kuwait.

Statistics show in the active-duty Army, the number of reported violent sex crimes such as rape, sexual assault and forcible sodomy increased every year between 2006 and 2011. In 2011, the latest year for which statistics are available, 2,290 violent sex crimes were committed in the Army, up 5 percent from 2010 and an increase of nearly 9 percent over 2009.

The increase has been attributed by Pentagon officials to increased reporting rather than more incidents but the military estimates up to 80 percent of sexual assaults go unreported.

A recent Army report said women make up only 14 percent of the Army but comprise 95 percent of all victims of violent sex crimes.

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