Fort Hood sex-abuse prevention leader probed for sex crimes

May 15, 2013 at 1:03 AM   |   0 comments

| License Photo
WASHINGTON, May 15 (UPI) -- An Army sergeant in charge of sexual-assault cases at Fort Hood, Texas, is being criminally investigated for alleged abusive sexual contact, the Army said.

The disclosure on the heels of other alleged sex crimes in the military, led Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to order all military services to immediately "retrain, recredential and rescreen" tens of thousands of military recruiters and sexual-assault prevention officers, a Pentagon spokesman said Tuesday night.

The sergeant first class under investigation, whose name was not released because no charges have been filed, is being probed by the Army Criminal Investigation Command for allegedly mistreating subordinates, committing assault and engaging in "abusive sexual contact," as well as pandering, the Pentagon said in a statement.

The investigation command investigates felony crimes and serious violations of military law in the Army.

A Capitol Hill staff member told USA Today the sergeant, a senior non-commissioned officer, was being investigated for allegedly forcing a subordinate into prostitution and sexually assaulting two others.

Two senior Pentagon officials told the newspaper the sergeant was also being investigated for allegedly running a prostitution ring.

The officer has been removed from duties as an "equal-opportunity adviser" and sexual-harassment and assault prevention officer at Fort Hood, one of the Army's biggest installations.

The Pentagon did not say when the allegations first came to light or how many alleged victims were involved.

The sergeant assigned to the Army's III Corps at Fort Hood oversaw the program at the battalion level, a unit of about 2,000 soldiers, the Pentagon said.

Hagel learned of the Army investigation from Army Secretary John McHugh Tuesday morning, the Pentagon said.

The Defense Department waited to publicly disclose the case until Tuesday evening, after Hagel appeared at a town hall meeting for Defense Department employees in Alexandria, Va., the Pentagon said.

Hagel directed hundreds of sexual-assault prevention coordinators to be retrained and rescreened. The defense secretary also ordered the same actions for all 20,000 recruiters for the Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps.

Rep. Niki Tsongas, D-Mass., a member of the Armed Services Committee, said the new charges are "utterly abhorrent."

"It has become painfully evident that saying the military has a cultural problem in regard to sexual assault and sexual misconduct is a glaring understatement," she said.

House Armed Services Committee member Niki Tsongas, D-Mass., called the Fort Hood revelations "utterly abhorrent."

"It has become painfully evident that saying the military has a cultural problem in regard to sexual assault and sexual misconduct is a glaring understatement," she said.

© 2013 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
Trending News
Join the conversation
Most Popular
Photos
Video
x
Feedback